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IBTS centre at CUH in doubt

A spokesperson for the IBTS told the Medical Independent (MI) that discussions are “still ongoing on the exact location and the size of the proposed centre”.

In November 2015, then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar stated that a new IBTS centre planned for the grounds of the CUH campus would deliver a cross-matching service for hospitals in Cork and a reference serology service for hospitals in Munster.

It would also continue to provide a donation clinic for whole blood, platelet apheresis and a service to haemochromatosis patients.

A therapeutic apheresis service would be provided for patients in Cork hospitals and blood and platelets would continue to be stored and distributed through the Cork centre.

Currently, the IBTS’s Cork centre is based at St Finbarr’s Hospital, but it has been widely acknowledged that a new facility is required. The IBTS has been pursuing a purpose-built facility for many years, and in 2008 the Government gave approval for a new €17 million IBTS centre in Cork.

However, minutes of an IBTS board meeting in June 2016 stated that “a drawing of the proposed space available” in the new Cork centre had been sent to the board and costings associated with this space were €5 million more than what was available. 

“HSE and CUH have both confirmed they have no Capex available for this development,” stated the minutes.  “The CE [Chief Executive] is waiting for written confirmation from CUH that the proposed site is approved for this development.

“The board expressed disappointment at the lack of progress and it was proposed that the Board agree a time frame for progress and if there is none, then options besides CUH be presented again to the board.”

The minutes indicated that a meeting would be held with the Department of Health, CUH, HSE Estates and the Group CEO of the South/South West Hospitals Group “setting out the IBTS concern about the lack of progress in this development” and trying to agree a way forward.

According to the minutes, if substantial progress had not been made by the following board meeting in September, the board agreed to consider “alternatives in terms of site location and service provision”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health commented: “The Department has not provided funding for the proposed IBTS centre at CUH. We understand that the IBTS are trying to finalise arrangements for the development with CUH and UCC.”

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