Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Department of Health
476. To ask the Minister for Health the reason the Health Service Executive bought a closed hospital, Mount Carmel, while fully staffed and operating hospitals are continuing to close beds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27997/14]
477. To ask the Minister for Health the amount that was paid for Mount Carmel by the Health Service Executive; and the way it is justified and to funded when the HSE is currently €500 million over budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27998/14]
478. To ask the Minister for Health if due diligence was performed together with the development of a business plan by the Health Service Executive for Mount Carmel with proper costings; where can Oireachtas Members inspect the evidence of that; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27999/14]
479. To ask the Minister for Health the way he can justify the Health Service Executive spending more money on a private hospital that was bust, even after the National Asset Management Agency injected €10m into it to keep it running over the past few years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28000/14]
480. To ask the Minister for Health if it is the case that the National Asset Management Agency sold all the Mount Carmel hospital equipment; the amount that was raised from this sale; the amount it will cost the Health Service Executive to re-equip the hospital to make it operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28001/14]
481. To ask the Minister for Health his views on whether the purchase of Mount Carmel is a venture in which the taxpayer gets no financial return in view of the fact that every cent expended has already, and continues to be provided by the taxpayer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28002/14]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 476 to 481, inclusive, together.
While I understand that the proposed sale of Mount Carmel has not been completed, I can confirm that, in the context of other potential uses for the campus, the HSE has made a bid for the buildings and land which were previously the Mount Carmel Maternity Hospital. Information relating to the proposed Mount Carmel sale or any potential property sale, if it was available to me, would be commercially sensitive and could not be divulged. Commercially sensitive information would include bid details and information used to determine the bid.
Also, I wish to repeat briefly what I said on 18 February last at the Joint Committee on Health where the closure of Mount Carmel Maternity Hospital was discussed - that there may be other potential uses for the buildings. As you will be aware, I stated then that I have a responsibility to the taxpayer to ensure that public money is used prudently and I remain firmly of the view that the purchase of Mount Carmel as a going concern, or as a going concern for other purposes, cannot be justified. To do so would unnecessarily expose the HSE and the State to all contingent liabilities and to very obvious significant financial risks.
As Mount Carmel Maternity Hospital was a private not a public hospital being sold on behalf of NAMA I am not in a position to offer a view on the financial return to the State from the sale, and I have no information on the sale of equipment.