Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (84)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

84. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a progress report on the development of the new National Children’s Hospital. [30394/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board is the body with statutory responsibility for building the new children's hospital. Since the current Board was appointed in January, it has focused on a number of key issues at this critical early stage.

A key priority now for the project is the reconciliation of the design brief, which is required following the change in location. The design brief must reflect the outcome of the review of existing plans for an Ambulatory and Urgent Care Centre at Tallaght, which is almost complete. Decisions on the size, activity and infrastructure of urgent care centre(s) will affect those of the main hospital and hence the design brief. It must also reflect decisions on shared services at the new site, and a Shared Services Group has been established, focusing on identifying facilities which can be shared between St James's and the new children's hospital so as to optimise the significant clinical and operational benefits of co-location.

Procurement of a new design team has begun with the publication of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) on 13 June. This will be followed shortly by publication of the contract notice for the design team tender. Preliminary options have been examined for the general configuration of the new hospital on the St James's campus and these will be developed further by the design team once appointed.

The preparation of the site is being led by St James's Hospital, in line with their proposal to accommodate this development on their campus. A Decant Project Office is established on the St James's campus and is working closely with the Shared Services Group. In keeping with the strategy to maximise the efficiency of both schedule and financial resources, many enabling works are planned during this decant stage including carparking provision, decommission/demolition of buildings, diversion of existing services, new entry /exit provision and roads upgrade, and an upgrade of the Energy Centre to a campus wide facility for efficient/sustainable energy use.

The overall aim at this stage of the project is to secure planning permission by December 2014. This is a very large and very complex capital project, and is of huge importance for the provision of acute paediatric services for all children in Ireland. I am determined to ensure that it is completed as swiftly as possible, with optimal design and value for money.