In November 2018, the HSE was requested by my Department to consider the three options for completing the new children’s hospital project identified by the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board in the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) report. As part of the HSE’s examination of these options, the HSE sought high-level input from a range of health construction and procurement specialists including individuals from HSE Estates, PwC and the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care system. None of the parties providing specialist input to the HSE had any role in the subsequent decision making process, the decision to proceed with Phase B was made by Government in December 2018.
In early 2019, following the Government’s decision, PwC was commissioned by the HSE on behalf of Government to conduct a comprehensive review to understand the reasons for the cost escalation associated with the new children’s hospital construction project. The terms of reference set out that the primary focus of the review was on the governance and management arrangements in place within and between the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board and Executive, Design Team, relevant consultants, user groups and contractors, and would deal with the accountability of the relevant key parties, functions and roles.
The HSE has confirmed that it has in place a framework for the provision of professional services to assist in the Programme for Health Service Improvement. This framework provides resourcing for expertise to be drawn down as required. Under the terms of this framework , it was agreed that PwC would carry out the review of the escalation in cost of the new children's hospital. In the context outlined above, the HSE has made clear that it is satisfied there is no conflict of interest.