Monday 25 March 2019

New children's hospital will cost an extra €35m to run

Costly: The new children’s hospital will feature single rooms rather than wards
Costly: The new children’s hospital will feature single rooms rather than wards

Eilish O'Regan and Cormac McQuinn

The operational cost of 380 single inpatient rooms in the new national children's hospital will be more expensive than wards currently in existence.

The annual operating cost of the new hospital in 2023 will be €366m, compared to around €333m currently for the three individual children's hospitals.

The estimated additional cost to run the new hospital, due to open in 2022, "is based on robust healthcare planning" and reflects growing demand, said a spokeswoman for the children's hospital group.

The new children's hospital and the two outpatient and urgent care centres are expected to have capacity for:

:: 31,000 inpatients;

:: 276,000 outpatient attendances;

:: 129,000 emergency department attendances.

In addition to the increase in services, there are a number of other factors which contribute to the required increase in annual allocation, including the operation and staffing of the education centre in the hospital, which will be used by 2,500 undergraduate and post-graduate students. Information and community technology services will be needed to support the increased digital requirements in what will be Ireland's first public digital hospital.

There are also additional costs associated with operating 380 single inpatients rooms, in contrast with wards in the three sites today.

Meanwhile, Public Accounts Committee chairman Seán Fleming has contacted BAM, the main contractors for the new national children's hospital, to tell them they would be asked to appear before TDs to discuss the project.

He stressed it would be up to the company whether or not to attend as the firm is under no obligation to do so.

Mr Fleming said he has yet to hear back from BAM.

A spokesperson for BAM last night declined to comment on whether or not the company would attend the PAC.

The building of the new children's hospital on the St James's campus has begun and the overground works started at the end of last month. The PwC review does not include the option of investigating alternatives to constructing the hospital on the St James's site.

There were six children in Dublin's children's hospitals waiting for a bed yesterday morning. There were three children in Our Lady's Hospital Crumlin on trolleys and three in Temple Street.

Irish Independent

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