A&E cover hit in overhaul of hospitals
HOSPITAL services for patients in Cork and Kerry are to be overhauled, leaving some areas without 24-hour accident-and-emergency cover.
Under the plan, unveiled yesterday, the duplication of services will be dramatically reduced.
It means the six hospitals in the two counties will operate as one network for the first time.
However, the reorganisation, which will happen over five years, must be done on a "cost -neutral" basis -- with no funding coming from the HSE.
It also envisages that Cork city will get a new hospital in 10 to 15 years with the closure of the Mercy and South Infirmary hospitals.
Cork University Hospital will become the main centre in the region for the most complex care and cancer services.
This will mean Mallow General and Bantry hospitals will no longer have round-the-clock emergency departments.
Instead, Mallow and Bantry will have urgent care centres to deal with emergencies, while the most seriously-ill patients will be looked after by advanced paramedics who treat them before transfer to Cork city.
The South Infirmary will also lose its emergency department, while the service at the Mercy Hospital will be confined to 12 hours a day.
Kerry General Hospital will retain its 24-hour emergency cover and critical-care service, while providing general and orthopedic surgery.
The Mercy Hospital will be the regional centre for patients in need of urology and vascular surgery, and for a new rehabilitation medicine service.
St Mary's orthopedic Hospital will close and transfer all services to the South Infirmary which will become a regional centre for orthopedics and eye surgery.
The "reconfiguration roadmap" was unveiled yesterday by consultant obstetrician Prof John Higgins.