The Minister for Heath, Dr James Reilly, will visit Mallow today (Thursday) to view for himself progress on the new €4 million extension at the Mallow General Hospital (MGH).
Speaking to The Corkman this week, Junior Minister Sean Sherlock said the visit would offer him an opportunity to secure certain assurances from Minister Reilly regarding the immediate future of acute services in the Cork area.
"To my mind there is a perception that the HSE locally is moving too quickly to change the ED (A&E) at MGH," said Sherlock.
"A key purpose of this visit is to provide an opportunity for myself as Minister to apprise James Reilly of the need to ensure that no services will be reduced in Mallow in advance of an agreed position on the provision of acute services in the Cork City group of hospitals," he added.
Minister Sherlock said that under the agreement no services will change until a surgical rotation has been put in place.
"Until such a time as that is confirmed I will not stand over any changes to Mallow's position," he warned.
"We need to make sure that Minister Reilly gets the full picture to ensure that HSE does not move prematurely to close any services at the MGH."
Minister Reilly's visit has also been welcomed by Fine Gale TD Tom Barry and his party colleague, Mallow mayor Noel O'Connor. Cllr O'Connor said the extension, which will incorporate a new medical assessment unit and an endoscopy unit, would "secure a viable future" for the MGH.
Speaking in his capacity as spokesman for the Friends of Mallow Hospital, Cllr O'Connor went on to thank the public for their continued support, which helped to raise €38,000 at church gate collections throughout Cork and Limerick during 2012.
Another €5,000 was received through private donations.
This allowed the group to spend €3,500 updating computers at the hospital, with the remaining money being spent on laparoscopic equipment.
"The new unit, combined with the goodwill shown by the public, will set up a secure longterm future for the hospital," said Cllr O'Connor.