independent

Saturday 7 December 2019

Green light for Kanturk Hospital refurbishment

Plan will pave way to more than doubling bed numbers

Major plan of works in the pipeline at Kanturk Community Hospital
Major plan of works in the pipeline at Kanturk Community Hospital

Bill Browne

There has finally been some welcome news in the long-running saga over the refurbishment and expansion of Kanturk Community Hospital after it emerged the ambitious plan for the facility has finally been granted planning permission.

Back in 2016 funding of more than €9million had been allocated for the upgrading of both Kanturk and Millstreet Hospitals after reports issued by the Health and Information Authority (HIQA) highlighted major flaws in operating procedures and conditions at both HSE-administered facilities.

The following year it was announced that a design team had been appointed to the Kanturk development, and in September of last year the HSE said it expected a planning application for the project to be lodged within a matter of months.

That application, which included provision for the construction of a new 31-bed extension and other significant structural works to the existing hospital building, which was built in 1927, was finally lodged at the start of August.  

However, concerns were raised last month that the project may be put on hold indefinitely after Council planners requested the HSE provide additional information about certain aspects of the proposal. 

It has now emerged that planners have given the plan the green light, albeit stipulating 26 separate conditions.

 "It is considered that, subject to compliance with the conditions, the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area and would not be prejudicial to public health and, therefore, would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area," wrote Council administrative officer Pio Treacy. 

The conditions cover a variety of issues including road/traffic safety; the prevention of water pollution and flooding of the public road; safeguarding local amenities and to ensure orderly development. 

Planners also ordered that the HSE pay Cork County Council a contribution €26,634.26 under the Development Contributions Scheme toward the costs of public infrastructural works benefiting the development. 

Full details of the proposed schedule of works and the conditions imposed by planners can be viewed on the planning section at www.corkcoco.ie. 

It is envisaged that work on the refurbishment - which when complete, will pave the way to more than doubling the number of beds at the hospital - will commence in the new year. 

The news has been warmly welcomed by local public representatives, including Cllr John Paul O'Shea (FG), who said it "marked a new era in healthcare for Kanturk".

"The first phase of the project will increase the number of beds (from 33) to 43. I am also pleased to say the HSE has future-proofed the site to extend the total number of beds at the hospital to 77 in the future," said Cllr O'Shea.

He said that the project comes in tandem with a programme of redevelopment works currently being undertaken at Millstreet Community Hospital. 

"Both hospitals play an integral role in the care of the elderly in the community, and it is important that the quality of the service shown by staff then is matched by the quality of the infrastructure and facilities," he added. 

Cllr Bernard Moynihan (FF) has also welcomed the granting of planning permission for the Kanturk project. 

"This is fantastic news that I know will be greeted warmly by the local community. My hope now is that we will see work commence on the ground as soon as possible," said Cllr Moynihan.

Corkman

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