I have identified the enhancement of services to persons with cystic fibrosis as a key priority over recent years. Additional revenue funding of €6.78m has been allocated to the Health Service Executive since 2006 to facilitate the recruitment of specialist staff in this area. The detailed application of this funding across the various hospital networks is a matter for the Executive.
The HSE was asked to place a particular focus on the development of services at the National Adult Tertiary Referral Centre at St. Vincent's Hospital. A number of capital projects have recently been completed at the hospital and have helped to improve facilities. These include a new ambulatory care centre, the refurbishment of St. Camillus Ward, and a new Accident and Emergency Department which includes single room accommodation.
However, it is accepted that these developments do not fully address the immediate needs of patients. The HSE has been working intensively with the Hospital and with representatives of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland to progress options for further interim improvements.
The HSE advises that it is fast-tracking the re-development of a ward which is adjacent to the main cystic fibrosis treatment area. The project is to commence shortly and will provide a minimum of six single rooms. On completion, additional work will begin to provide a further eight single rooms. The HSE has previously advised that this will result in a total of fourteen single rooms for cystic fibrosis patients by the end of the summer.
In the longer term, a new ward block is to be built and will include 120 replacement beds in single en-suite accommodation. The new facility will accommodate cystic fibrosis patients and will include appropriate isolation facilities. The HSE has advised that planning permission has been obtained, financial provision has been included in the HSE Capital Plan and the contract is to be awarded in 2008. It will be a condition of the contract that the design build period be not more than 24 months from the date of contract award.
Beaumont Hospital operates as a regional centre in providing services to adults with cystic fibrosis. In the 2008 Budget, a special allocation of €2.5m capital funding was provided to enable Beaumont hospital to provide out patient facilities for cystic fibrosis patients.
The HSE advises that patients with cystic fibrosis will also benefit from additional single room capacity in the new Medical Admissions Unit at Beaumont Hospital which is due for completion in December.
My Department has asked the HSE to reply directly on the additional operational issues raised in the Deputy's question.