Tuesday 15 October 2019

HSE boss says no major projects stopped due to spiralling costs of Children's Hospital

Paul Reid, director general of the Health Service Executive
Paul Reid, director general of the Health Service Executive
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

HSE boss Paul Reid has told the Dáil's spending watchdog that no capital projects have been stopped as a result of the spiralling costs of the National Children's Hospital.

However, he would not be drawn on whether or not projects will be delayed as a result of the cost overrun for the €1.7bn facility.

Extra costs for the NCH are to come to €100m this year with €25m of this set to come from the health Budget.

The issue was raised at the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as it emerged that senior HSE official Anne O'Connor wrote to the Department of Health in May raising concern over the implications of the additional costs of the Children's Hospital on plans for investment in capital projects over the years 2020, 2021 and 2022. She wrote that it "has made what was a very difficult situation almost impossible".

Mr Reid told the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he expects to finalise the HSE's capital plan with the Department of Health in the coming weeks in response to questions from Sinn Féin's Jonathan O'Brien.

The new HSE director general welcomed finance minister Paschal Donohoe's announcement earlier this week of an additional reserve of €200m for the NCH and National Broadband Plan.

However, under repeated questions from Mr O'Brien, Mr Reid would not be drawn on whether or not capital projects will be delayed.

Instead he said that the HSE is working on the capital plan and "we haven’t stopped any project that we’ve planned to do".

Mr O'Brien put it to him that the HSE must have some idea if projects will be delayed.

Mr Reid reiterated that the plan was being worked on.

Department of Health secretary general Jim Breslin said Ms O'Connor's letter in May raised fears that the HSE would have to carry increased costs for the NCH but he said that as a result of Mr Donohoe's announcement in the Summer Economic Statement "that concern is now gone".

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News