By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
Healthcare workers and campaigners have welcomed a local authority’s approval of an application to expand paediatric services at Cork University Hospital (CUH).
Proposals were submitted seeking permission from Cork City Council to build a five-storey extension at the hospital to ensure the most acute care for sick children in the Munster area can be provided at CUH.
The proposed development will provide 80 new paediatric in-patient beds as well as sleeping areas for parents or carers in each of the rooms.
When completed, the unit will also include child-friendly operating theatres, a mental health and palliative care room, children’s MRI scanning facilities and specialist rooms for oncology and high-dependency patients.
Marie Watson, a clinical nurse manager at CUH’s children’s unit, said getting the green light was “hugely significant”.
“It is a huge step on the right road to developing the children’s unit into what the kids of Cork and Munster deserve, which is going to be second-to-none accommodation, matching what they have already – second-to-none nursing and medical care,” she said.
A healthcare assistant in CUH’s emergency department, Saoirse O’Shaughnessy, also welcomed the development.
“It is so much better for a child from Cork to be treated in Cork, financially and emotionally, rather than go all the way to Dublin,” the former Miss Cork 2022 said.
“Every child deserves to have the best childhood. You never know when you are going to need the services provided by the new hospital.”
Claire Concannon, of CUH Charity, said the extension and the ongoing construction of the children’s emergency department will “lead to a smoother journey for children and their families though our healthcare system”.
CUH Charity, the hospital’s fundraising arm, has five fundraising appeals which includes the children’s hospital appeal and the children’s emergency department appeal.
A fundraising initiative by CUH Charity will give the public the chance to have their names on the wall of the new children’s healthcare facility, with the donations being used to furnish the five-storey extension.
The campaign has raised €55,850 in donations from the public, according to a press release.
Another campaigner for the expansion of children’s services at the hospital, Ireland rugby star and Munster flanker Peter O’Mahony, said: “There will be room for parents to be with their children at times of need, so it is going to be an incredible facility.
“It is unbelievably important for Cork, the Munster region and Ireland in general.”