Harris: No funding for relocating national maternity hospital
Minister says there is no provision in this year’s health estimates for project
Minister for Health Simon Harris said there is no funding this year to start work on a national maternity hospital adjacent to the new children’s hospital at the St James’s Hospital site in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson
There is no funding this year to start work on a national maternity hospital adjacent to the new children’s hospital at the St James’s Hospital site in Dublin, Minister for Health Simon Harris has said.
The Government has proposed relocating the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital to the St James’s Hospital campus in order to achieve the tri-location of adult, paediatric and maternity services.
The site includes 1.2 hectares (3 acres) of space for a maternity hospital but to date no move has been made to start this project.
Mr Harris said there is no provision in this year’s health estimates for the project. He was asked by Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly if aspects of the project could be “ramped up” this year.
“The honest answer to your question on the maternity hospital is that there isn’t provision in this year’s estimates to do that, so there is no point in me suggesting that there is. What there is, this year however, is some money for the theatres at the Coombe,” he said.
“I am willing to have another look at it as the year progresses. There is no doubt that we are going to build the Coombe on the site of this hospital and we are going to have tri-location so I think it would be a good confidence-building measure to show a bit of progress on that.”
The Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee has been told that construction of the national children’s hospital on the current site should proceed only if the maternity hospital can be accommodated beside it.