THE voluntary organisation, the Friends of Bantry General Hospital, has welcomed HSE confirmation of a €14.5m budget to construct a new state-of-the-art endoscopy and stroke unit.
The chairman of the organisation, Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said confirmation came at a meeting held with Gerry O’Dwyer, the chief executive of the South/South West Hospital Group in Cork on March 3rd last.
Cllr Hurley said the budget would ‘fund all the capital costs associated with the project, including the construction costs, the design fees, and equipment costs.’
He said approval has now been given for both the endoscopy and stroke units to proceed to design stage, and that this would involve a capital allocation of €0.68m in the HSE’s 2020 Capital Programme.
The chairman said: ‘This is very welcome news for the hospital, given the recent concerns raised by West Cork GP’s over the future provision of 24/7 non-selective acute medical services at the hospital.’
He suggested that ‘model two type hospitals – such as Bantry – could and should do more for local patients,’ and that this would help to reduce waiting times in the larger hospitals.
Cllr Hurley suggested that the policy of centralising services had left some regional hospitals, like Bantry, underutilised.
‘Hospitals like Bantry General,’ he added, ‘need to be doing more and reducing the need for people having to travel long distances to Cork, where they have to wait long hours to be treated.’