I have stated my Department's policy that there must be sufficient inpatient beds to treat all people with cystic fibrosis who require hospitalisation.
I am happy to say that construction of the new 100 bed unit at St. Vincent's hospital is well under way and is due to be completed next year. The new building, which has single en-suite rooms and isolation rooms, will play a vital role in the treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis and a range of other conditions.
Cork University Hospital has the second largest adult cystic fibrosis (CF) centre in Ireland. The CUH centre currently caters for the needs of 145 adult patients attending from the Munster region.
In September 2007, Dr. Barry Plant was appointed as the Director of the adult cystic fibrosis programme at CUH. Since his appointment, Dr. Plant has worked closely with various HSE services, philanthropic organisations such as Build4Life and CFAI, and scientific research agencies in advancing the needs of these patients. In June of 2008, Dr. Plant, in consultation with the CF Multi Disciplinary Team and the CF community locally, submitted a "Statement of Need" for CF services to the Executive Management Board of Cork University Hospital. This document, which was approved by the Board, outlined a strategic plan to develop CF services in the hospital, including the provision of day and inpatient facilities.
The CF Day Centre, which opened in CUH in May of this year, caters for most clinical needs of CF patients. It includes five isolation rooms, a dedicated CF gym, a multidisciplinary team room and consultant rooms. The capital costs for this development were provided through a partnership approach between HSE South and the Build4Life organisation.
Currently, Dr. Plant is working with the Executive Management Board of the CUH to develop a designated inpatient unit, with en-suite rooms for CF patients. A location has been identified for a combined designated adult inpatient facility and respiratory unit. This is in a vacated ward on the CUH campus. Provisional plans and costings have been made, with an estimated build cost of approximately €3m.
The hospital is working in partnership with Build4Life to co-fund this development. To date, Build4Life has raised over €2m to support CF capital developments at CUH. HSE South is examining ways to secure additional capital funding to complete the unit, in the context of decreasing capital budget allocations in the present stringent climate. The need to develop the adult in-patient facility remains a Board and HSE South priority and the HSE will continue to work with Build4Life to complete this project.
I recently met with the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland and I am keenly aware of the needs of people who live with CF. I am actively considering a Lotto application from Build4Life and will make a decision shortly and will inform the Deputy and Build4Life when I have done so.