Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Health

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

Photo of Thomas GouldThomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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27. To ask the Minister for Health if an update will be provided on the site chosen for the new elective hospital in Cork city; and when this will be operational. [16961/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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In December 2021 the Government agreed, subject to the necessary approvals and requirements under the Public Spending Code being met, a new National Elective Ambulatory Care Strategy. The development of additional capacity will be provided through dedicated, standalone Elective Hospitals in Cork, Galway and Dublin. The locations chosen will allow for new facilities of a size and scale to implement a national elective care programme that will tackle waiting lists on a national basis. The new facilities will be designed to maximise their capacity and in doing so will operate to cover as a wide catchment area as possible, extending beyond existing and future health areas.

The “Elective Hospitals Oversight Group”, under the joint governance of the Department of Health and Health Service Executive, has been guiding the development of the elective hospital proposals, following the process outlined in the updated Public Spending Code. Following the approval of the new Strategy, Project Preliminary Business Cases for the three locations are being finalised for consideration and review by my Department. The Preliminary Business Cases provide a framework to assess costs, benefits, affordability, deliverability, risks and sensitivities associated with potential project options as well as providing the information required to inform decisions on the viability and desirability of public spending proposals.

These Project Business Cases will make a recommendation on and seek approval-in-principle to proceed on the optimal strategy for the delivery of the additional national elective capacity in Cork, Galway and Dublin. These business cases are at an advanced stage of development.

When approved internally, the Business Cases will be submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s recently introduced PSC External Assurance Process and Major Projects Evaluation Group, after which further memoranda for Government could then be brought forward. While it is difficult to be certain about timelines, following these assurance steps I am hopeful we could proceed to approval-in-principle (Gate 1 of the Public Spending Code) before the summer recess.

In advance of receiving approval-in-principle from Government in line with the PSC, it would be premature to commit to any specific timeline, other than to say that the Department is proceeding with the expedient development of PSC compliant business cases in order to deliver additional elective ambulatory capacity in line with the Government decision of December 2021 provided through dedicated, standalone Elective Hospitals in Cork, Galway and Dublin.


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