Wednesday, 4 October 2006
Hospitals Building Programme.
Brian Lenihan Jnr (Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Minister of State, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Minister of State, Department of Health and Children; Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
I thank the Deputy for raising the matter. I deliver this reply on behalf of the Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Harney. It is the policy of the Minister and the Department to maintain older people in dignity and independence at home in accordance with their wishes, and at the same time to provide high quality residential care for older people when living at home is no longer possible.
The Government's commitment to the development of a comprehensive range of services for older people has been clearly demonstrated by the significantly increased resources made available in recent years. From 1997 to 2005, additional spending on health care services was in excess of €302 million. In the budget package announced for 2006, additional revenue funding of €150 million in full-year costs was allocated, that is, €110 million in 2006 and a further €40 million on an annual basis for services for older people.
The prioritisation of all health capital developments is now a matter for the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. The HSE has advised that the provision of a 14-bed extension to Kenmare community hospital has been considered for inclusion in its multi-annual capital programme for the period 2006 to 2010. The Kenmare project involves the replanning of the existing accommodation and the addition of new accommodation to provide an integrated 40-bed hospital to meet present day standards of care. The HSE has completed a draft accommodation brief for the enlargement of the hospital.
The HSE has confirmed that this project was not included in its 2006 capital programme. This was due to competing demands for capital funding, including other significant capital projects in the Kerry area, of which I am sure the Deputy is aware, which require investment in 2006. However, the HSE has advised that the capital programme will be reviewed and reprioritised on a rolling annual basis. Depending on available resources and the progress of other projects, proposed developments such as the extension to Kenmare community hospital will be reconsidered by the HSE for inclusion in its revised future capital programme.