I propose to take Questions Nos. 1159, 1162 and 1166 together.
Community Nursing Units (CNUs) are an essential part of our national healthcare infrastructure. However, many units are housed in buildings that are less than ideal in the modern context. The Government’s Capital Investment Programme 2016-2021 provided for investments totalling €535m to replace, upgrade and refurbish up to 90 public facilities across the country, which would bring them into compliance with new regulations from 2022.
The programme provides for a phased approach, with new builds and larger projects sequenced towards the end of the six-year period. Most of the funding comes from the Exchequer Capital Plan, with €150m to be sourced through Public Private Partnerships.
In considering the phasing of the projects over the 6 years, the HSE has had regard to the Capital funding available each year. The programme of works prioritises the completion of smaller projects in the earlier years of the Plan with larger projects, including those to be developed under the PPP model, to be commenced later.
Through normal ongoing engagements with the HSE it has recently advised that significant progress has been made and almost 30% of the projects have been completed to date. Construction is underway on a number of others, while the remainder are at various stages of appraisal, planning and/or design.
The HSE has indicated to the Department of Health two and a half years in advance of the December 2021 regulatory deadline that it expects over 80% of the projects will be complete or under construction by that time. While this represents substantial progress on the Programme, it is recognised that not all centres are likely to be completed within the originally planned timeframe.
The HSE has recently commenced an integrated package of work to examine each of the CNU projects as to their current status, next stages of development, timelines and costs.
The Department and the HSE are in early engagement which allows for the issues to be worked through to determine the best course of action and to discuss the extent of additional costs and any measures that could be adopted to mitigate challenges arising.
The HSE Capital Plan, published recently, provides for €220m capital funding to the CNU programme over the period 2019 to 2021 and also sets out the current status of all projects within the programme.
As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to you in relation to the status of individual projects.