Press Release

Minister welcomes additional €894m (IR£704m) for Health Services

Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin TD, has today (15 November 2002) welcomed an extra €894 million (IR£704m) for services, including the health capital programme, in 2002.

The overall increase represents a 14% increase on this year´s funding.

The Minister wishes to acknowledge this significant increase, particularly at this time of retraction within the economy. This level of funding will allow for the development of very significant service enhancements commenced this year.

Non-Capital Funding

The Minister explained that the funding makes full provision for pay and pension costs, technical adjustments, increasing demands on the GMS schemes and the various community drug schemes.

The additional funding will allow for service developments along the following lines:

  • Acute Hospitals €94million (IR£74m) – to include new units, cancer prevention and treatment, Winter Initiative, Bed Capacity.
  • Childcare Services €35million (IR£27.5m) – to include foster care, youth homelessness, National Children´s Office, Children Act 2001, Children First Guidelines and inter-country adoption.
  • Community Care €101 million (IR£80m) – to include mental health, intellectual disability and autism, physical and sensory disability, older people, Nursing Home Subventions.
  • Primary Care €51 million (IR£40m) – to include dental services, immunisation programmes, AIDS/HIV and drug services, food safety programmes, general practitioner co-ops.
  • Nursing Degree Programme – Additional capital and revenue funding totalling €51.5 million (IR£40.6m) is being provided for the implementation of degree level education for nursing students in 2002. The new four-year nursing degree programme will put the education of nurses on a par with that of other health care professionals. The programme will be operated by thirteen higher education institutions throughout the country, each of which will receive substantial capital grants for the construction of purpose-built facilities to accommodate nursing students. An all-time record total of 1,640 training places in general, psychiatric and mental handicap nursing will be available annually.

Capital Funding

The total capital funding for 2002 will allow for continued and significant development of health infrastructure under the Government´s National Development Plan.

The implementation of the NDP in terms of developing health infrastructure is now well under way throughout the country. The resources of health boards have been augmented to ensure the successful delivery of the Plan. Capital projects include, for example, development of facilities for acute hospitals, the disabled, older persons, mental health, community health, and the enhancement of services for children requiring care and protection. The Plan is also providing for significant new investment in the important areas of refurbishment/re-equipment, and Information and Communication Technology, for all services.

NDP funding in 2002 will allow for the progression of several major projects commenced previously. These include the construction, equipping or commissioning of:

  • University College Hospital Galway – Phase II,
  • Completion of Mayo General Hospital – Phase II,
  • Development of St. Joseph´s Clonmel,
  • Continuing works at St Vincent´s University Hospital, St James´s Hospital, and James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Dublin,
  • Developmemnt of Naas General Hospital,
  • Cork University Hospital Maternity Unit,
  • Tullamore General Hospital.

A wide range of initiatives will progress in the non-acute hospital area. Examples are:

  • Hospital of the Assumption, Thurles (Older Persons)
  • Acute Psychiatric Units in Sligo General, St Luke´s Kilkenny, Ennis General Hospital and Beaumont Hospital (Mental Health)
  • Services for the disabled at St Ita´s Portrane (Disability Services)
  • Nenagh Health Centre (Community Health)
  • Dingle Community Hospital (Older Persons)
  • Community Nursing Unit for Older Persons and Health Centre, Birr
  • High Support Units/Special Care Units for Children at Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan, Ballydowd, Co. Dublin, Portrane, Co. Dublin and Limerick.
  • Community Care HQ and Health Centre, Tralee

Hospital Activity

With the investment that the Government is making in recent years, there has been a significant increase in activity (in-patient and day cases) again this year. The total number of people projected to be treated this year in acute hospitals is 920,000. This is an increase of 6% over 2000 and represents an extra 52,000 persons treated over last year. This is the biggest increase ever seen in hospital activity in this country.


The Minister wishes to acknowledge the commitment of Government colleagues to the support of our health services in the difficult economic climate now emerging. His Department will be working closely with health boards and the ERHA to use and manage the funding available in the most effective manner possible. The Minister looks forward to the full support of all those engaged in the provision of health and social services in this essential task.