Press Release

Capital Investment in Health

Dr James Reilly T.D. Minister for Health today (Thursday, 10th November 2011) welcomes the Government’s decision to maintain the existing levels of health capital investment.

The Programme for Government states that ‘health capital spending will be a priority’. The publication of today’s Capital Review is tangible evidence of this commitment; in a time of fiscal consolidation the Government remains committed to supporting crucial health infrastructure development.

Over the years 2012-2016 an investment of €1,950m or €390m per year will be made in health infrastructure.

This funding, along with additional investment from other potential sources, will be used to support the Government’s priorities as set out in the Programme for Government. A principal aim is to ensure that high-quality and cost effective care is delivered in the most appropriate settings.

In particular, the funding will support the delivery of three high priority national projects –

  • the National Children’s Hospital, and the associated ambulatory & urgent care centre in Tallaght, confirming the Government’s commitment to delivering quality services in modern facilities for the children of Ireland;
  • the replacement of the Central Mental Hospital which dates from 1850 with an appropriate modern facility for treating and caring for patients with mental illness; and
  • the National Project for Radiation Oncology, recognising the demonstrated need for extra radiotherapy capacity and the obvious impact of this treatment on patient mortality and morbidity.

The Minister also welcomes the announcement regarding National Lottery Funding by Minister Howlin. National Lottery Funding will ensure that the National Children’s Hospital will be built, allowing for appropriate investment in other programme areas such as Primary Care.

Funding will be allocated across a number of care programmes – primary care, mental health, older people, disability and acute hospitals – in accordance with the commitments in the Programme for Government. The distribution of funding across the care programmes will be set out in the HSE Capital Plan for 2012-2016.

The ambitious Government reform programme for health will have to be underpinned by effective information and ICT. A major upgrade in ICT capabilities for the health system will, therefore, be supported.

Funding will also enable the Department of Health to contribute to two significant infrastructure projects – a Clinical Research Facility at UCHG and a replacement blood transfusion facility in Cork.

Speaking today, Minister Reilly said “This is a Government that understands the price of things and the value of things. It is a Government that has its priorities right. The capital spending programme being announced today targets some of the most vulnerable in our community, children, persons with mental ill health and those who have cancer.”

Minister Róisín Shortall commented “Primary care is central to the Government’s objective to deliver an integrated and cost-effective healthcare system. Modern, well-equipped, accessible Primary Care Centres are central to the effective functioning of Primary Care Teams.

The provision of integrated services where the patient can have access to the GP, Public Health Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Dieticians and many other services, all in the same building is the kind of service the public wants and deserves, and it is the way forward.

An accommodation assessment for primary care is currently being undertaken by the HSE and I expect to receive the report shortly. This review will inform the development of a plan for the construction of primary care centres based on a mixed Exchequer and private funding approach. State funding will be targeted at disadvantaged areas with the greatest health needs.”

Minister Lynch was enthusiastic in her welcome for the Government’s decision to maintain levels of health capital investment which will facilitate the much needed replacement of the Central Mental Hospital (CMH). This is an important element in her overall plan to move forward at a pace the modernisation of our mental health services. It is fully in line with the recommendations of A Vision for Change, the implementation of which is a priority for this Government. “There have been repeated calls over many years from national and international experts for replacement of the Dundrum facility in order to provide care and treatment in a modern, up-to-date and humane setting. It is now at last going to become a reality,” the Minister said “and I fully expect that the entire project can be completed and the new facility operational by 2016.”