Thursday 14 December 2017

Hospital spent €78k on bid for children's site

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

CASH-strapped public hospitals spent almost €120,000 bidding to become the location of the new national children's hospital.

The vast bulk of the spend was incurred by the winning hospital, St James's in Dublin, which spent almost 13 times that of its nearest rival, Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.

New figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that St James's spent €78,000 on its bid, with the bulk of the money going on architectural services, public relations and design fees.

The next biggest spender was Beaumont in north Dublin (€20,558), followed by the Coombe (€10,000), Blanchardstown (€6,125) and Crumlin (€5,312.65, of which €1,513 was refunded).

The spend came after An Bord Pleanala refused planning permission for the national paediatric hospital on the Mater Hospital site in Dublin's north inner city in February last year.

The Department of Health announced the following month that an expert group chaired by Dr Frank Dolphin would review the decision and recommend potential sites.

None of the nine members of the review group were paid for their role. The Department of Health incurred costs of €13,738 providing transport and lunches for the group, which completed its work in just two months.

The figures also show that the Rotunda, Tallaght, Temple Street and the Mater hospitals incurred no costs when submitting bids to the Dolphin Review group.

Planning permission for the children's hospital is expected to be sought in the coming months from An Bord Pleanala.

The decision to choose St James's Hospital was made by the Cabinet, not the Dolphin group.

Irish Independent

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