Children’s hospital board turns down request to appear before PAC

Board wants to wait until PwC report looking at how cost of hospital rose is completed

The board of the national children’s hospital has invited members of the Public Accounts Committee to visit the construction site.  Photograph:  Brian Lawless/ PA Wire

The board of the national children’s hospital has invited members of the Public Accounts Committee to visit the construction site. Photograph: Brian Lawless/ PA Wire

 

The board of the national children’s hospital has turned down a request to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) next month.

Members of the PAC indicated during their last meeting that they wanted to question officials from the board about potential future increases in the cost of the project such as possible rises in inflation. In a letter to the PAC, a senior executive of the board, Elaine O’Rourke, said they could not attend until at least May. This is because the board wants to wait until a PwC report is completed which is looking at how the cost of the hospital rose from an estimated €800 million in 2014 to the current figure of at least €1.73 billion.

“Further to our call yesterday regarding a suitable date for the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board to attend the Public Accounts Committee, we understand our attendance is related to the HSE-commissioned PwC independent review currently under way.

“We understand that PwC are currently targeting to complete their review on 5th April and their report will subsequently be issued to HSE and other relevant stakeholders for consideration. The NPHDB [National Paediatric Hospital Development Board] has not been informed when it will receive a copy of the PwC report, however, it is likely to be some time after the 5th April.

“The PwC report will need to be reviewed and considered in detail by the [board] to formulate the board’s response.”

She said that because of the Easter break, a meeting of the board would not take place until the 1st of May.

Ms O’Rourke said that a request to appear on April 18th would be “premature” and asked to reschedule the session until later in May. She then invited members of the committee to see the construction site this week or next week.

Ms O’Rourke said the board “would like to invite the members to visit the construction site of the new children’s hospital to hear more about the project and view the work to date”.