The Sláintecare implementation office this morning invited submissions for sites for new elective hospitals planned for Cork, Dublin and Galway.
Draft service model plans for the Cork facility, as reported by thelast month, show how it's proposed to develop a hospital that would operate just six days a week and for 50 weeks of the year.
Fine Gael TD for Cork North Central, Colm Burke, welcomed today's progress but said the facility earmarked for Cork must be a 24/7, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year inpatient facility.
"There is an urgent need to increase capacity in Cork," he said.
"The Mercy University Hospital and the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital are facing major challenges on a daily basis.
"Their facilities are ageing. It's time for an up-to-date facility that can deal with population growth and plan for the future provision of healthcare."