Work can begin on CF facilities
A builder could start work on the long-delayed new facilities for cystic fibrosis sufferers at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin as early as next week.
A hospital spokesman said last night that agreement had been reached by all parties and a contract was expected to be signed next week.
This would pave the way for the construction of the 100-bed unit, giving CF patients access to their own room.
Much of the groundwork has already been completed and the builder should be able to start more preparatory work before applying to Dublin City Council for a date to begin laying the foundations.
The spokesman said the timescale for its completion was still 18 months. But CF patients could still be placed in shared wards with other patients with infections in the meantime.
In July, the HSE confirmed that the building contractor was John Paul Construction. Several young people suffering from the disease have gone on air in recent days to speak of their difficulties battling infections in open wards.
Patients with the disease have also had to contend with the effects of the moratorium on recruitment, which has led to key staff not being replaced.
The Irish Independent reported last week that the screening programme to detect CF in newborns due to be introduced this year has been delayed.
It will now not start until the first half of next year although €800,000 has been ringfenced for its rollout.
The builder of the new €40m unit at St Vincent's will not be paid until the building is constructed -- this was agreed upon after the HSE announced that it did not have the necessary funds last year.