Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Health
National Children's Hospital
235. To ask the Minister for Health the extent to which the construction of the National Children’s Hospital is progressing in accordance with projections; when the hospital will be completed and commissioned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59753/21]
The New Children’s Hospital Project, comprising the main hospital at St James’s campus in Dublin, and two paediatric outpatient and urgent care centres at Connolly and Tallaght hospitals, is a Government priority. A major milestone was reached in July 2019, when the Urgent Care Centre at the Connolly Hospital campus opened, providing a new model of ambulatory care for children. A second major milestone was reached when the second satellite centre, at Tallaght, was completed in line with contractor’s schedule and formally opened on 15 November 2021.
Despite delays, work on the new children’s hospital building at St James’s is now progressing well with the outer shell almost complete. The infill concrete slabs over the steelwork frame, closing in the concourse, is now complete and the building will be essentially weathertight by end of the year. The fit out of most internal areas is now underway.
The current programme scheduled by the contractor outlines a revised substantial completion date for the main hospital of December 2023. If the contractor can meet its own schedule, the new hospital could open in 2024, after the necessary period of commissioning.
Like many other sectors of the economy, the construction sector has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and progress on the main building at St James’s campus was delayed. In addition, the sector is challenged by Brexit and global supply chain issues, but the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) and contractors are working hard to mitigate those risks. However, those externalities make more definitive forecasting unwise.
The NPHDB has the statutory responsibility and resources to plan, design, build, furnish and equip the new children’s hospital and continues to engage with the main contractor to achieve delivery of the Programme within the shortest possible timeframe.