In line with best international practice, it is Government policy that standalone maternity hospitals should be co-located with acute adult hospitals. The National Maternity Strategy, published in January 2016, reaffirms this commitment. In this context, the Rotunda Hospital will be relocated to the Connolly Hospital campus. Co-location will facilitate the provision of an appropriate environment within all our maternity hospitals and units to enable the delivery of a modern, safe, quality service where the woman’s need for privacy and dignity is respected.
As the Deputy will be aware, the new children's hospital was originally planned for the Mater site and it was proposed, as recommended in the KPMG report (Independent Review of Maternity and Gynaecology Services in the Greater Dublin Area) 2008, to redevelop the Rotunda Hospital on the Mater site. However, following the Government decision in 2012 to locate the new children’s hospital at the St James’s campus, it was necessary to revisit the earlier decisions regarding the relocation of both the Rotunda and the Coombe Women and Infants University hospitals.
A detailed review was undertaken by my Department, which considered a number of potential host sites for both hospitals, examining demographics, a range of clinical criteria as well as planning risks and site capacity. The Department engaged with a number of divisions within the HSE and with the Masters of both the Rotunda and the Coombe as part of the review process. In June 2015 Government decided that the Coombe would be relocated to the St James's Hospital campus, while the Rotunda would be redeveloped on the Connolly Hospital campus.
More recently I have also engaged with the Master of the Rotunda, the RCSI Hospital Group and the HSE in relation to the relocation of the Rotunda to Connolly, including meeting with these parties in July of this year.
Project Ireland 2040 provides €10.9 billion for health capital developments across the country, including funding to support implementation of the National Maternity Strategy. The relocation of the Rotunda Hospital to the Connolly campus is one of the key infrastructure projects which will be funded under Project Ireland 2040. 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 any individual maternity hospital project at this stage, this will be considered through the process of the determination of service priorities and in the context of Health capital planning.
The Deputy will appreciate that the Rotunda relocation project is at an early stage and will be required to progress through appraisal, planning, design and tender before a firm timeline or funding requirement can be established. However, the Project Briefs for the relocation of the three stand alone maternity hospitals, namely the Rotunda, the Coombe and University Maternity Hospital Limerick, to acute hospital campuses, in line with the National Maternity Review will be progressed in 2020.