Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Health

National Children's Hospital

Photo of Mairead FarrellMairead Farrell (Galway West, Sinn Fein)
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66. To ask the Minister for Health the estimated or projected final cost of the national children's hospital given ongoing legal challenges and remarks in the media (details supplied) before Christmas 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11388/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The new Children’s Hospital (NCH) project comprises the main hospital on a shared campus at St James’s, the Outpatient and Urgent Care Centre at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, and the Outpatient and Emergency Care Centre at Tallaght University Hospital.

In 2018, Government approved a capital budget of €1.433bn for the NCH project. This included the capital costs for the main hospital at St James's Hospital campus, the two satellite centres, equipment for the three sites, and the construction of the carpark and retail spaces. The capital budget has not yet been depleted and to date, €963.75m of the €1.433bn budget has been drawn down for works on the project across the three sites.

There are a number of items not included in this investment figure as there was no price certainly for them and nor can there be, for some, for the duration of the project. These include construction inflation, the impact of Covid-19, statutory changes, any change in scope resulting in healthcare policy changes, and the Employment Order.

Additional costs in relation to the integration and transfer of the services of the three children’s hospitals to the new sites brings the total programme cost to €1.73bn. This includes investment in ICT, a new Electronic Health Record system and the Children's Hospital Integration Programme (the merging of three paediatric hospitals) including commissioning.

Brexit, the pandemic and recent geopolitical developments have severely impacted supply chains and NCH project is not immune to these external challenges. Every effort is being taken to mitigate the risks but these externalities beyond the control of the contractor and the NPHDB make speculation and more definitive forecasting unwise.

Definitive updates on costs cannot be provided due to the fact that we are talking about a live contract and speculation on any costs will be detrimental to the Development Board’s commercial engagements.

The contractor has submitted a number of substantiated claims, which it is entitled to do. Equally the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) is entitled to defend claims that it and its advisors consider to be inappropriate. The NPHDB will enforce the contract and defend those claims, where appropriate.

There are three matters relating to the New Children’s hospital before the High Court. The decisions to issue these proceedings rests with the NPHDB and the contractor. As the matters are now before the Courts, I do not wish to say anything that could in any way prejudice those proceedings.


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