Written Answers. - Hospitals Building Programme.

Joe Higgins

Ceist:

268 Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will report on the investment to date in the renovation of James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown; and when all of the new units will be operational. [19339/03]

As the Deputy is aware, the Eastern Regional Health Authority is charged with responsibility for commissioning health and personal social services on behalf of the population of the region and also on behalf of those outside the region who are referred for specialist treatment. Construction of phase 1 of the new hospital development at James Connolly Memorial Hospital is nearing completion. This major development is being funded jointly by the Northern Area Health Board through the sale of surplus lands and the Department. The projected full project cost is €101.4 million. This includes an amount of €5 million recently approved to facilitate refurbishment works at the hospital which are necessary as part of the transition process to the new hospital and to facilitate a land transfer in line with the project development arrangements.

The development includes a number of facilities which have already been completed. These include an accident and emergency department, an operating department, a surgical day unit as well as in-patient and associated accommodation and medical support services. The new hospital will provide a 56 bed unit comprising 44 acute psychiatric beds, six high observation beds and six psychiatry of later life beds. The existing acute psychiatric unit has 22 beds. Patients from a 22 bed unit at St. Brendan's Hospital will also be moving to the new unit. The new hospital will also provide 12 new day beds and additional capacity in the intensive care and coronary care units. The refurbishment of the existing surgical block is also being progressed at present.

The development at the hospital is on schedule both in terms of the timeframe and also in budgetary terms. The next stage of the project will involve commissioning and equipping of the new building. Discussions in relation to the capital and revenue requirements for this process are currently in train, involving the ERHA, the NAHB and my Department.