Taoiseach determined to 'press ahead' with development of new hospital in Glanmire

Martin critical of delays caused by 'navel-gazing' and says: 'I'm a great believer in getting things done'
Taoiseach determined to 'press ahead' with development of new hospital in Glanmire

Micheál Martin confirmed that a memo will go before Cabinet on Tuesday to give the green light to the development of an elective hospital at the St Stephen's Hospital site. Picture: Dan Linehan

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is "determined to press ahead" with the development of a new elective hospital in Cork.

Speaking in France, the Taoiseach hit out at the delays caused by "navel-gazing" on issues such as the location of the new elective hospital, which the Irish Examiner  this week revealed would be built at the site of St Stephen's Hospital in Glanmire

Mr Martin has confirmed that a memo will go before Cabinet on Tuesday to give the green light to the project.

The decision to locate the hospital in Glanmire is contrary to a recommendation from a 2015 expert group which said the new elective hospital should be built close to Cork University Hospital (CUH), which is located in Wilton on the west of Cork city. The Glanmire site is on the opposite side of the city.

Mr Martin said subsequent groups have examined where the hospital should be located. He said there have been various working groups and the HSE has come forward with a proposal to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

Local politicians have long been split as to whether the hospital should be located close to existing facilities in Wilton, or on an alternative site. 

Mr Martin said in the world of medical politics people have different views, and very often “the different views and the different camps as to where a particular project should be located has often, not deliberately, but can often delay projects".

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he is 'determined to press ahead' with the Glanmire site 'because we can keep on navel-gazing on these issues and very little gets done in the meantime'. Picture: Kenneth O'Halloran
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he is 'determined to press ahead' with the Glanmire site 'because we can keep on navel-gazing on these issues and very little gets done in the meantime'. Picture: Kenneth O'Halloran

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Martin said he is “determined to press ahead” with the Glanmire site, “because we can keep on navel-gazing on these issues and very little gets done in the meantime".

He said: “An elective hospital makes sense; it would take pressure off the trauma hospital in CUH and other hospitals and will enable people to get treated in a more timely manner. And I'm a great believer in getting things done.

“It was announced five or six years ago that there will be a second hospital in Cork; not a whole lot has happened in between.” 

He said when he became Taoiseach he was “adamant” that the “elective idea” in Galway, Dublin, and Cork would get done.

Mindset change

In terms of healthcare, it has to be about the patient, and not about institutions, the Taoiseach added.  “And I think we need to make that mindset change and health generally keep focused on the patient.

“The role of institutions is to facilitate the journey of the patient to better outcomes and to enter more timely procedures and that's what's happening with this decision.”

The new hospital, once built, will have capacity for 180,000 procedures each year, and the need for the extra capacity is clear as demand for elective care is expected to increase by almost a third between now and 2035.

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