Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (79)

Jack Wall

Question:

194 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of the promised 850 hospital beds now available in regard to his announcement of July 2002; the hospitals in which they are available; the number in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1917/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

The 850 additional beds which I announced in July 2002 were for community nursing units, CNUs, to be provided under a pilot public private partnership, PPP, in 17 locations throughout the Eastern Regional Health Authority, ERHA, and Southern Health Board, SHB, areas.

The ERHA proposes to develop nine 50-bed CNUs, three in each of the area health boards in the following locations: Clonskeagh Hospital, Newcastle Hospital, County Wicklow, and Tivoli Road, Dún Laoghaire, in the East Coast Area Health Board; St. Joseph's Hospital, Raheny, St. Mary's Hospital, Phoenix Park, and Swords in the Northern Area Health Board; St. Brigid's Hospital, Crooksling, Brú Chaoimhín, Cork Street, and Cherry Orchard Hospital in the South Western Area Health Board. It is intended that 20 to 25 day care places will be provided in each location if the site is conducive to accommodating the service.

The Southern Health Board proposes to develop eight 50-bed CNUs in the following locations; St. Finbarr's Hospital, Farranlea Road, and Ballincollig in the Cork south Lee area; St. Stephen's Hospital, Glanmire, and St. Mary's Orthopaedic Hospital, Gurranabraher, in the Cork north Lee area; Mount Alvernia Hospital, Mallow, in the north Cork area; Bantry in the west Cork area and Ballyard, Tralee, County Kerry.

These additional beds are currently not available because the process of providing services under a PPP arrangement requires the health board/authority to comply with the EU procurement legislation and national guidelines on PPPs.

A draft public sector benchmark, which is a comprehensive and detailed risk adjusted costing of the project elements using conventional procurement over the whole life of the project, have been prepared by the ERHA and the SHB. The draft public sector benchmarks have been submitted to my Department and are currently under consideration. The next step will be to seek Department of Finance approval for the projects and on approval contract notices will be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Communities.