HSE expected to spend €2bn on projects over three-year period

All approved schemes set to go ahead despite overspend on children’s hospital

The plan will be published on Monday by Minister for Health Simon Harris on the site of one of the projects, the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The plan will be published on Monday by Minister for Health Simon Harris on the site of one of the projects, the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The HSE capital plan, to be published on Monday after months of delay, envisages spending of just over €2 billion on healthcare projects over a three-year period.

No other projects have been delayed or otherwise affected by the massive overspend on the largest capital project, the new national children’s hospital, Government sources insisted.

“All projects committed to will proceed,” one source said. “The summer economic statement outlined by Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe in July gave the HSE clarity of funding and meant it could proceed with a multi-annual capital plan.”

The plan, which covers the years 2019-2021, provides for 480 new hospital beds, 30 new primary care centres, 58 community nursing units, as well as additional mental health and disability projects.

The children’s hospital overrun meant an additional €100 million had to be found to cover the cost of the project at St James’s Hospital this year. The Department of Health provided €24 million from a budget for repairs and replacements, while the rest was sourced from other Government departments.

Further allocations of more than €100 million a year will be needed in 2020 and 2021 to offset the increased cost of the €1.7 billion children’s hospital.

The plan includes an allocation of more than €1 billion for the Government’s priority projects: the children’s hospital, the National Rehabilitation Hospital, the relocation of the Central Mental Hospital from Dundrum to Portrane, and radiation oncology facilities in Cork, Galway and Dublin.

The plan will be published on Monday by Minister for Health Simon Harris on the site of one of the projects, the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire. Mr Donohoe, HSE director general Paul Reid and Laura Magahy, executive director of the Sláintecare programme office, will also attend.

Some €265 million is being provided over the three years to replace or refurbish nursing homes and residents for people with a disability.

Ambulance fleet

The HSE’s ageing ambulance fleet is to benefit from an injection of €300 million for the maintenance and upgrading of facilities, equipment and vehicles.

Another €335 million is being provided for capital projects in hospitals and primary care facilities.

The Cabinet was told last December that health projects might have to be curtailed due to the soaring cost of the children’s hospital. However, Ministers subsequently decided no development would be cancelled or delayed, and money would be found by rearranging funding this year from a number of other projects.

The capital plan is normally published at the start of the year but was agreed only late last month.

Mr Harris described the plan as “a continued sign of the investment taking place in our health service”.

“As we reform the health service in line with Sláintecare, it is vital we continue to invest in capital infrastructure and, crucially, invest in the community and social care settings.”