Press Release

Tánaiste agrees Health Capital Programme 2006

More than 400 projects to improve patient services

An Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D., today (17th May 2006) announced approval to the HSE capital plan for 2006 and the capital plan for her Department.

The approval issued today provides for €555.5m spending on the HSE Capital Programme in 2006, and €22.4m for the Department of Health and Children, all of which is direct Exchequer funding.

The Tánaiste said, ‘The HSE’s Capital Programme of 400 projects and the Department’s capital plan underscore the Government’s commitment to a very high level of public capital investment in our health services.

‘It is part of our €3 billion health capital investment framework for the years 2005-2009. Public finance will continue to be the predominant source of new capital investment in health in our country.

‘With prudent management of our strong economy and reform in the way we use new funds, we intend to continue this high level of capital investment.

‘This investment builds our capacity to deliver every type of health service to patients: from primary and community care centres to acute hospitals, and across the service spectrum covering, for example, cancer, heart disease, mental health, services for people with disabilities, for older people and for children.

‘Sometimes, the major focus of attention is new projects in the acute hospital sector. There are 130 hospital related investments in the Capital Programme.

‘Equally important to enhance patient care are the 230 projects around the country that upgrade old health facilities as well as add new ones and the 40 ambulance-related projects.

‘The working environment for people working in our public health services will also be improved by this new investment.’

The approval of €555.5m for the HSE includes €51m carry forward from 2005. This sum will be made available later in the year by way of a Supplementary Estimate.

The focus of the health capital programme by the HSE this year will be directed towards new initiatives in Primary Care, Mental Health, Services for Older Persons, the Disability Sector, develop A&E Services, further investment in the Nursing Education programme and various other projects across the other health programmes. The details of this will be the subject of a separate announcement by the HSE.

The Department of Health and Children’s capital funding is €22.444 million (includes a €2m carryover from 2005) for 2006 to support infrastructural investment by a number of small agencies which it funds directly such as BreastCheck and the Health Research Board.