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Costing errors linked to €1.4bn runaway hospital bill

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Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The team behind the runaway bill for the new national children's hospital - which has risen to at least €1.4bn - admits lessons need to be learned from the failure to get more financial costings earlier.

Members of the national paediatric hospital development board, who appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee today, say they did not get enough costings early on in relation to mechanical and electrical services. They are among several drivers pushing up the bill for the hospital, which will not be completed until mid-2022.

It was originally priced at €1bn when the tender was accepted in 2016.

Chairman Tom Costello said while they would adopt the same two-stage procurement approach if they were to start again, they would look again at pursuing cost reductions on competitive tenders. "We are deeply disappointed," he said.

Health Minister Simon Harris has told Cabinet the rising cost of the hospital will mean other health projects may have to be postponed because of the pressures on the capital budget. He estimated the hospital bill could rise to €1.7bn. A review of how it was managed has started.

Each square metre of the new hospital will have cost in the region of €6,500.

Itemising the increased costs, the board says €90m has been added by the completion date being pushed back nine months. Some €94m was added after a review of the fixtures and fittings needed in 6,000 rooms. Contractors needed a further €22m to reflect changes in scope. Proposals from doctors meant the final design was changed, calling for an extra €21m.

Irish Independent