The new children’s hospital (NCH) project, comprises the main hospital on a shared campus at St James’s, and two paediatric Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, and Tallaght University Hospital.
In 2018, the Government approved a capital budget of €1.433bn for the NCH project. This included the capital costs for the main hospital at St James's Hospital campus, the two Outpatient Department and urgent care centres at Connolly and Tallaght campuses, equipment for the three sites, and the construction of the carpark and retail spaces.
There are a number of items not included in this investment figure as there was no price certainly for them and nor can there be, for some, for the duration of the project. These include construction inflation, the impact of Covid-19, statutory changes, any change in scope resulting in healthcare policy changes and the Employment Order.
Since the commencement of the NCH project construction, just under €815m has been drawn down for works on the project across the three sites.
A major milestone was reached in July 2019, when the Urgent Care Centre at the Connolly Hospital campus opened, providing a new model of ambulatory care for children.
The second paediatric Outpatient and Urgent Care Centre at Tallaght Hospital was substantially completed in early September 2021, and the new facility is expected to open later this month after a period of operational commissioning and equipping.
Together with the Urgent Care Centre, CHI at Connolly, these new facilities will improve access to urgent care for a significant number of paediatric patients. The opening of the second of the three new campuses, will mark another important milestone in the NCH programme and in the delivery of children’s health services.
Despite delays and Covid-19 restrictions, significant progress is being made on the site at St James’s and the new children’s hospital building is taking shape, with the building expected to be weathertight by the end of the year.
The NPHDB has advised that the main contractor’s programme schedule outlines completion can be achieved by December 2023 which would mean the NCH at St James’s could open in the second half of 2024, after the necessary commissioning period. The NPHDB is working to ensure that contractor will meet its own schedule.
However, there remain external risks to the NCH project beyond the control of the NPHDB and the contractor, arising from Brexit, the global pandemic, global supply chain difficulties, and shortages of construction raw materials.
Definitive updates on outturn costs cannot be provided due to the fact that there is a live contract in place and speculation on any costs would be detrimental to the Development Board’s commercial engagements.
The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) has statutory responsibility for planning, designing, building, and equipping the new children's hospital. This includes assessment and defence of claims/ disputes submitted by the contractor under the construction contract. I have therefore referred this element of your question to the NPHDB for direct reply.