An independent inquiry has been launched amid concerns the health and welfare of some acutely ill hospital patients may be at serious risk.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) confirmed it will investigate the quality and safety of services at Mallow General Hospital in Cork.
The inquiry will centre on the provision of major surgery, the emergency department, critical care, anaesthetic services and supporting arrangements provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
In a statement, HIQA said the investigation will ascertain whether safe, quality services and practices are in place in the hospital.
"Whilst the authority has been informed there are long-term plans in place to change the role of the hospital, the authority believes there may be a serious risk to the health and welfare of some patients undergoing certain treatments in the hospital," it added.
The study follows a similar inquiry in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Ennis, Co Clare, launched last year after two women died when their breast cancer was misdiagnosed.
Concerns were then highlighted over standards in small, stand-alone hospitals where the volume of acutely ill patients or clinical staffing levels were low.
However, HIQA confirmed it had not received adequate assurance that a number of the national recommendations made at the time have been implemented in Mallow.
"It is in this context that the authority has identified specific concerns about aspects of the care provided at Mallow General Hospital following receipt of information about the types of patients being treated in that hospital," it continued.