Review of Mater site decision to take four weeks

 

A REVIEW of the decision to locate the new national children’s hospital at the Mater hospital campus is to be undertaken and will take four weeks, the Department of Health has confirmed.

A spokesman said “all the pertinent information” related to the hospital site was being gathered and then a review would begin, lasting four weeks.

Last month Minister for Health Dr James Reilly said he was considering whether a review was required of the decision to locate the hospital on the campus of Dublin’s Mater hospital.

Opponents of the Mater hospital site have said “the problems which have dogged this project have to be looked at in a substantive way”.

Dr Finn Breathnach, an opponent, expressed concern that the review would look only at cost which “relative to the other problems which are going to be an issue in time, is a minor issue”.

Newly-released departmental briefing documents show the cost of developing the planned new national children’s hospital could be around €50 million cheaper if it was built on a greenfield site rather than in the proposed location at the Mater hospital.

Department officials say in the document that every month’s delay on the project will cost between €550,000 and €650,000.

The documents were released just days after the resignation last week of the second chairman of the board established to oversee the development of the State’s new national hospital.

John Gallagher resigned because he felt he no longer had the “mandate to continue with his original remit to build the hospital at the Mater site”.

Mr Gallagher’s decision followed Dr Reilly’s comments that he was considering the necessity of a review.

The briefing material, drawn up for the new Minister for Health, says that the new hospital, earmarked for the campus of the Mater hospital, will cost around €650 million. This does not include an estimated additional cost of €60 million for information technology costs.

However, the briefing material states that the HSE has calculated that “the cost of building the Children’s Hospital of Ireland to the same specification on a greenfield site would be in the region of €50 million less than building on an existing site such as the Mater”.

The Department of Health said this was an indicative figure only, and would vary “depending critically on the nature of the individual greenfield site”.