The HSE South yesterday said that in collaboration with St Patrick’s Hospital and Marymount Hospice, it would be able to increase the number of palliative care beds at the Curraheen facility to 44.
Up to now the beds could not be made operational due to lack of funding. They will be opened on a phased basis throughout this year.
The announcement was made at a HSE South forum meeting in Cork’s County Hall yesterday afternoon. HSE officials said the move will ensure more patients with life-limiting illnesses can receive the specialist care they need in an appropriate environment.
St Patrick’s Hospital and Marymount Hospice chief executive, Kevin O’Dwyer, said the initiative means the people of Cork will now have access to specialist palliative care services when and where they are needed.
“We are delighted that the new hospice will be used to its full capacity and we look forward to working with the HSE South in developing our services in Marymount, in Cork University Hospital, and in North Cork.
“The investment in the new hospice has now borne fruit, and the dream of having a world-class palliative care service in Cork has been realised. This is a good day for Cork and for Marymount,” he said.
Pat Healy, HSE regional director of operations, said his organisation had “fostered a partnership approach with the voluntary sector in palliative care in the region.
“Significant work has been under way across the entire HSE South over the past number of years to develop a number of key projects which, when implemented, will significantly improve the range and quality of services in the field of palliative medicine in the region,” he said.
Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer said during the hospice’s construction the HSE gave a commitment the additional beds would be funded at a later stage.
He said he welcomed the news that the HSE is now fulfilling that commitment.