Private facility to proceed with €80m expansion

THE Bon Secours Hospital in Cork is pressing ahead with plans for an €80 million expansion despite the announcement by the Mater Private that it intends to open a 75-bed hospital in the city by the end of the year.

If both developments are completed, cancer patients with private health insurance in need of radiotherapy would have a choice of two venues where previously no such private service existed locally.

Both the Mater Private Cork and the Bon Secours Cork will place significant emphasis on cancer care as part of their investment, which, for the Mater Private, will total €75m.

Yesterday Bon Secours Cork confirmed that it is “advanced in planning” for its expansion, which will include a new cancer care centre with radiotherapy, two new orthopaedic theatres, a PET/CT scanner and a multi-storey car park with 400 spaces.

“Bon Secours Cork anticipates that construction on the project will begin by the end of the year,” it said in a statement.

Fergus Clancy, chief executive of Mater Private Healthcare, has confirmed that chemotherapy and cancer surgery will be provided at its new facility in Citygate, Mahon, from the outset. Radiotherapy will follow at a later stage. Mater Private Cork plans to open by the end of the year and will provide 250 jobs, subject to the VHI coming on board.

Yesterday the VHI said: “There is no agreement in place with respect to Mater Private and Cork.”

However, it is understood discussions are ongoing. Previously, the VHI refused to cover the Cork Medical Centre, which had occupied the Citygate premises but was forced to close in March less than six months after it opened because of the VHI’s stance.

Sheehan Medical Ltd, the backers of CMC, have said they intend to sue the VHI.

The VHI repeatedly told CMC there was excess capacity in the private hospital marketplace but that there might be opportunities in 2012. CMC went into liquidation with €5m in liabilities.

The Mater Private Cork will bring the number of private hospitals in Cork city to three, including the Bon Secours — the expansion of which will increase bed capacity by 80 to 420 — and Shanakiel Hospital in Sunday’s Well.

A fourth private hospital is planned by developer Owen O’Callaghan.

Mr O’Callaghan is pressing ahead with plans for an €80m private hospital on Lancaster Quay/Western Road in Cork city.

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