Tuesday 23 July 2019

Nobody has lost their job over runaway cost of €1.4bn children's hospital, committee told

A model of the new children's hospital that was made in August
A model of the new children's hospital that was made in August

Eilish O’Regan

Nobody has lost their job as a result of the runaway bill for the new national children’s hospital-which has risen to at least €1.4bn,it emerged today.

Members of the national paediatric hospital development board who  appeared before the Oireachtas health committee confirmed that it has not resulted in anyone being asked to step aside.

The price of the hospital – which will not be finished until 2022 – has escalated from €983m in 2016 to €1.4bn.

Fianna Fail TD Stephen Donnelly said the escalation amounted to a  “catastrophic failure” and he listed a range of other health projects which will have to be delayed because so much capital funding will have to be pumped into the children’s hospital.

Board chairman Tom Costello said a two tender stage process was entered into and the complexity of the project was not fully recognised.

The hospital will be fully digital and the extent of the cable needed was not known early on.

The paediatric team said they  did not get enough costings early on in relation to mechanical and electrical services.

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.

An aerial view of how the hospital will look
An aerial view of how the hospital will look

Health Minister Simon Harris has already told the 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 the how it was managed is now underway.

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

Itemising the increased costs the board says that €90m has been added because the completion date had to be pushed out by nine months until 2022.

Some €94m extra was added on after a review of the fixtures and fittings needed in 6,000 rooms.

The contractors needed a further €22m to reflect changes in scope. Proposals from doctors meant the final design was changed  calling for an additional €21m .

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