Minister seeking €350,000 for delayed CF unit
Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath is looking for €350,000 to fund the design of a long-delayed hospital unit for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients in his constituency.
A new 20-bed CF unit for Beaumont Hospital in north Dublin was agreed as part of the programme for Government in 2016 with a commitment to "immediately proceed to the design and planning stage".
But there has been little progress since then. Planning permission for the unit was only granted last March and Mr McGrath is now looking for €350,000 to fund the architectural design of the specialist unit.
There are also growing concerns that the cost of the building could spiral because of rising construction prices.
An internal hospital document seen by the Irish Independent warns: "With the current heated construction market, in terms of labour and materials availability, it's become apparent on recently submitted returned tenders that construction costs are increasing rapidly."
The document estimates that the construction cost will total €9.6m, but has also factored construction inflation at 7pc over the next year which would add nearly €600,000 to the cost.
However, Mr McGrath and the hospital management are now seeking an extra €350,000 to develop a detailed design plan by architects for the three-storey unit.
At present, there are around 160 people with CF who attend Beaumont, which has only seven inpatient rooms for those with the condition. The ratio of around 23 patients for every bed has been criticised by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, which said it leads to long delays for those seeking access to inpatient care for the chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
The Department of Public Expenditure referred queries about funding for the hospital unit to the Department of Health which did not respond at the time of publication.