Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Department of Health and Children
Hospitals Building Programme
Question 496: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the impact the revised programme for Government to proceed with the current programme of co-location limited to already committed projects under the existing project contractual agreements will have on the co-location proposals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38513/09]
Question 497: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the status of the co-location projects at Waterford Regional and Sligo General Hospital for which project agreements have not been signed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38514/09]
Question 498: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the status of the co-location project at St. James's Hospital, Dublin 8; if the hospital has been granted planning permission for the development; if not, the reason for the delay in approval; when a decision will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38515/09]
Question 499: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the number of projects involved in the co-location proposal; the location of same; the number of beds planned for each site; the estimated cost to the taxpayer in terms of tax relief; the duration of the lease in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38516/09]
Question 500: To ask the Minister for Health and Children in view of the termination of capital allowances for private hospital developments provided under the Finance Act 2009, if all co-location projects have satisfied the transitional arrangements for projects already under development and will retain tax relief; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38517/09]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 496 to 500, inclusive, together.
The co-location programme is aimed at freeing up public acute hospital capacity for use for public patients and to enhance overall acute capacity at public hospital sites. It envisages that the private sector will finance and operate private bed capacity and, also, that there will be a substantial degree of co-operation and innovation by public and private managements working together at each site.
The Renewed Programme for Government re-affirms the Government's commitment to the current co-location programme. The procurement process which is underway will continue. Projects will be operated within the terms of those project agreements in place that are signed or may be signed. Value for public money criteria remain in place and are to be met by each project.
Progress has been made in advancing individual co-location projects. The Board of the HSE has approved preferred bidder status for the development of co-located hospitals at Beaumont, Cork University, the Mid-Western Regional Limerick, St. James's, Sligo General, and Waterford Regional Hospitals, and project agreements for the ventures at Beaumont, Cork, Limerick and St. James's have already been signed. Each co-location project is subject to a 65-year lease.
Planning permission has been granted for the Beaumont, Cork University and Mid-Western Regional Limerick Hospitals projects. A planning application in respect of St James's Hospital has been lodged with the local authority. The necessary preparatory work for the project agreements in respect of Waterford Regional and Sligo General Hospitals is proceeding. When completed, the planned capacity of these facilities will be as follows:
|Hospital||Number of in-patient beds||Number of day beds|
|M-W Regional Limerick||150||62|
These bed figures are exclusive of critical care beds - which will be provided in proportion to the in-patient capacity in each hospital.
In addition to the hospitals to which I have already referred, two further projects at Connolly and Tallaght Hospitals are at earlier stages of the procurement process.
The Finance Act 2009 provides that the schemes of capital allowances for private hospitals and certain other health facilities will be terminated, subject to transitional arrangements for projects already in development, including the requirement that planning permission must be applied for by the end of 2009. This applies to all private hospital developments. Provided that a private hospital project - and this includes co-located hospitals - conforms to the requirements of these transitional arrangements, and otherwise satisfies the general requirements of the scheme of capital allowances, the tax relief will apply. The value of the tax relief in each case will depend on the level of qualifying capital expenditure involved.