I thank the Ceann Comhairle's Office for selecting for discussion this important issue regarding the development of special facilities at Cork University Hospital for people with cystic fibrosis. This has been possible because of the outstanding fund-raising efforts and dedication of those involved in Build4Life in raising the necessary capital investment required. While Build4Life has raised much of the required funding, the HSE and management of Cork University Hospital have worked with it to ensure the delivery of facilities for the benefit of patients with cystic fibrosis.
In the past few months, a disagreement has developed between Build4Life, the HSE and Cork University Hospital concerning the use of funding for the development of a unit in Ward 5B in Cork University Hospital and the ring-fencing of beds for patients with cystic fibrosis. The ward has 20 beds, a proportion of which are to be designated for patients with cystic fibrosis. Build4Life understood that these beds would be ring-fenced and used only by patients with cystic fibrosis. It now appears that this will not be the case. There is much confusion around this issue. I hope that as a consequence of my raising it here and with the involvement of the Minister of State, Deputy Lynch, the HSE and Build4Life this issue will be resolved.
The Minister of State will be aware that this unit was developed at a cost of approximately €2.3 million, which amount was raised by Build4Life. She will also be aware that the Minister for Health, through national lottery funding, contributed €300,000 over two years to Build4Life towards the cost of this project and that the site was prepared by Cork University Hospital at a cost of €250,000. Everybody has invested time, energy and money in getting this project to the stage where it would benefit patients. Patients must be at the centre of everything we do in the health system. It is important that the needs of patients with cystic fibrosis are paramount in resolving disagreements over bed allocation.
I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all involved with Build4Life who, since its establishment in 2007, have raised huge amounts of money and whose fund-raising efforts to develop life saving isolated inpatient and outpatient cystic fibrosis facilitates in all hospitals throughout Ireland are ongoing. The organisation has thus far raised €3.4 million, which is a huge amount. I do not propose to outline at this point on what this money has been spent. It is important a resolution is found to this impasse and that the investment by Government, the HSE and Build4Life is brought to fruition, thereby delivering access to isolated beds and other facilities for patients with cystic fibrosis.
I have been in contact with the HSE and hospital management on this issue. I have also met with and discussed the issues with representatives of Build4Life. Families and patients with cystic fibrosis want to ensure the new facility is operated in a long-term manner that is feasible and viable. I acknowledge that there has been a huge amount of dialogue by a long list of people on this issue. While that dialogue is to be welcomed it is important the group that has raised the money for this project is included in any negotiations or discussions with the hospital. This is about the delivery of the best possible outcome for patients. I am sure everybody wants to ensure that these beds are opened, thereby improving the health care provided to patients with cystic fibrosis.
Through the relationship of the three groups involved, namely, the HSE, Cork University Hospital and Build4Life, real benefits for people with cystic fibrosis have been delivered. While it is important that the disagreement in regard to the use of beds in the new facility is resolved, it is vital that this long-term relationship is maintained. It is essential there is open communication between all involved in regard to how best to use the new facilities at Cork University Hospital for the benefit of patients with cystic fibrosis and their families. A world-class facility has been developed. It is not in anybody's interest that it should not deliver the best outcomes for patients with CF. I look forward to hearing the response from the Minister of State, who I know has a great interest in this matter. It is important the result is an outcome that delivers not only for the patients and families but the hospital.