Press Release

Mr. Micheál Martin T. D., Minister for Health and Children at the turning of the sod for the new Amalgamated Maternity Department at Cork University Hospital

“This new amalgamated Maternity Department, which represents an investment of €75 million in the hospital will provide, maternity and neonatal services in a single centre of excellence”

Speaking today (Monday September 23rd 2002) at the turning of the sod for the new amalgamated Maternity Department at Cork University Hospital, Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children said “today´s event marks one of the most important steps in the development of hospital services in the Cork region in recent times. This new Department, which represents an investment of €75 million in the hospital, will result in maternity and neonatal services being provided in a single centre of excellence with access to modern facilities and quality support for mothers and children”.

“The completion of this development is designed to cater for approximately 7,000 births annually. The development will include 150 beds for obstetrics and pregnancy related gynaecology, 50 cots for neonatal services together with 3 operating theatres, 12 Birthing Suites, Outpatient Department and other facilities. The development of an integrated service in the Cork region has been a key priority for the Southern Health Board for many years. It is expected that this project will be completed within 3 years”, Minister Martin said.

“This new Department, which will replace existing maternity facilities at St Finbarr´s and the Ernville Hospital, will address key issues such as increased privacy for women during childbirth, timely access to neonatal care for sick new-born babies and improved availability of parent craft education. Patients in the maternity department will also have rapid access to the comprehensive range of support services available in Cork University Hospital, including intensive care, radiology and pathology”, said Minister Martin.

“Cork University Hospital is experiencing an unprecedented period of development. The Cardiac and Renal developments, Accident and Emergency Department, Radiotherapy Unit, Day Procedure Department together with the amalgamated Maternity Department, all of which will come on stream over the next few years, will ensure that Cork University Hospital retains its place as a centre of top quality health care in this country” Minister Martin said.

Commenting on the Government´s overall commitment to the strategic planning and development of the health service, the Minister said, “the Health Strategy which I launched last year will provide a framework for the growth and development of our health services over the coming years. As you know, the Government has decided to provide a total of 3,000 additional acute beds for public patients over the next ten years. This represents the largest ever concentrated expansion of acute hospital capacity in Ireland. Earlier this year, I announced the first phase of these additional beds with the commissioning of an extra 709 acute hospital beds this year at a cost of €65 million. An additional 55 beds will be commissioned in the Southern Health Board region representing an investment of €6.5 million.”