Saturday 23 March 2019

New €140m mental health facility 'is in budget and is on time'

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The bill for the new central mental hospital - the construction of which is under way in north Co Dublin - is currently in line with its projected cost of €140m.

The hospital in Portrane is the other major construction project under way by the HSE, along with the €1.7bn National Children's Hospital - which is €450m over budget.

The central mental hospital will replace the outdated building in Dundrum, and will be called the National Forensic Mental Health Service.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said the construction contract for the 130-bed mental health adult hospital was valued at about €140m.

"Construction is ongoing and the final account has not been agreed and is therefore commercially sensitive. The final project outcome is, however, in line with budget expectations," she said.

She said that construction would be completed by the end of 2019 with a view to the new hospital becoming operational in 2020, following equipping, commissioning and final fit-out.

The construction is being carried out by Rhatigan OHL, which was awarded the contract after tender.

The complex at Portane will also include a new 30-bed intensive care rehabilitation unit, together with a 10-bed forensic child and adolescent mental health unit.

Blueprint

This new hospital fulfils recommendations made in the national mental health policy 'A Vision for Change', which was the blueprint for the development of mental health services.

Since its go-ahead was announced by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny in mid-2017, it has proceeded without controversy and is on target to meet its timelines.

The project will also involve a second phase at a later stage, during which new regional intensive care rehabilitation units (ICRUs) will be built in the HSE west and south areas.

However, the much-needed refurbishment of some existing psychiatric units is at risk of being delayed in order to secure €24m from the HSE's capital budget to help fund the Children's Hospital overrun.

The HSE said it was carrying out an exercise to prioritise and review capital projects. Health Minister Simon Harris said the money would be found in delayed repairs and replacements.

Irish Independent

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