Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (99)

Stephen Donnelly


99. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if relevant parties will be informed that the new maternity hospitals are to have no dedicated facilities for private patients further to an unanimous adoption of a Private Members' motion on maternity care by Dáil Éireann; if the relevant parties will commence the planning and design phases for the Coombe hospital, Rotunda Hospital and University Maternity Hospital, Limerick; the capital spend by year allocated for the building of these maternity hospitals and centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27892/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Project Ireland 2040 provides €10.9 billion for health capital developments across the country. This unprecedented health capital investment will support existing Government priority projects and policies, including funding to support implementation of the National Maternity Strategy. The funding which will be made available over the next decade will enable us to provide an appropriate environment within all our maternity hospitals/units to facilitate the delivery of a modern, safe, quality service where the woman’s need for privacy and dignity is respected. 

It is important that we carefully plan all projects to meet population health needs and achieve value for money.  This work is ongoing. While I am not in position to outline the year on year provisions for the the individual maternity hospital projects at this stage, this will be considered through the process of the determination of service priorities and in the context of the finalisation of the Health Capital Plan.

The first new maternity hospital will be built on the St Vincent's University Hospital campus. I can assure the Deputy that the vast majority of services in the new hospital will be public services.  However, as part of the National Consultants' Contract, negotiated in 2008, some consultants holding specific contracts are entitled to engage in private outpatient practice outside of their public commitment; this commitment must be conducted on site, in the hospital where the consultant holds his/her contract. As a result, private outpatient clinics may be undertaken on a public hospital campus, however, these clinics must be held outside contracted hours. There is an obligation to provide such facilities for consultants holding such contracts, but it is proposed that the consultants will be required to pay a fee for the use of the rooms and other operational costs. 

Finally, I should perhaps also confirm that there will be no designated private in-patient bedrooms in the new maternity hospital.