Children’s Hospital Budget out of control – Minister must take responsibility

14 December 2018

Labour Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD has slammed the Minister for Health for losing control of the construction budget of the National Children’s Hospital, and questioned the impact of this on other health capital projects.

Deputy Kelly will be asking the Public Accounts Committee to examine the costs incurred to date to understand how this has happened.

Deputy Kelly said:

“It is unbelievable that in the space of two years the projected cost of delivering the National Children’s Hospital has more than doubled from €650 million in 2016 to a projected €1.4 billion now.

“With work underway on site, and numerous other major capital in the pipeline we need to understand how the Minister and his Department lost control of the costs. For that reason I will be asking the Public Accounts Committee to look at the expenditure to date and how it compares to projections.

“Even worse, the cost is still escalating by millions a week. The project is expected by delivered by the end of 2021, but if costs keep rising as they are it will imperil multiple other health capital projects across the country, putting lives at risk.

“The Minister for Health said the Hospital would be delivered on budget and on time. He has clearly failed on the first count, and as the Minister responsible has lost control of the budget.

“The failure by Harris to keep costs under control means the new National Maternity Hospital project must be at risk, and smaller capital projects in health facilities across Ireland such as the provision of X-Rays and other diagnostics, important IT updates, more step down beds, and primary care centres will be delayed and shelved. This will have a direct impact on people’s lives.

“From the moment the Ireland Project 2020 national development plan was published it was clear that the Department of Health had lost out, with insufficient funding over the next decade to meet demand and deliver capital projects.

“The huge rise in costs for the Children’s Project due to the failure of the Minister and his Department is now making that situation worse and we need to hear from him about how this will be controlled.”

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