THE multi-million euro new Bandon Community Hospital has finally opened – on a phased basis.
The 12 existing patients in the adjoining hospital facility moved across to the €3.4m building this week.
A row between the HSE and unions over staffing levels for the new 25-bed hospital had delayed the opening of the building which was completed last December. The state-of-the-art building had been lying idle since, until this week.
Unions were looking for greater staff/patient ratios as the new facility comprises mainly single rooms, as opposed to regular wards.
Following a Labour Court hearing last week, it was agreed that a joint review group (comprising two HSE members and two union officials) would continue to engage to clear the way for new admissions.
INMO spokesman Liam Conway said: ‘Both parties are in agreement that this process is the best way forward.’
Gabrielle O’Keeffe, head of social care with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, said: ‘I am very happy to see this progress. I wish to thank everyone involved in moving the residents into their new accommodation, and to thank the residents and their families.’
Junior Minister Jim Daly, who has been very involved in the project, has welcomed the move, as well as Friends of Bandon Hospital who fundraised €240,000 for a dedicated day room for patients.
‘We are absolutely thrilled the issue has been resolved,’ said the group’s PRO Pat Brennan.