Press Release

Varadkar & Lynch announce €3BN investment package for health service over six years

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch have announced that €3 billion will be invested over six years in the health capital programme announced today.

Minister Varadkar said: “This plan provides funding for a major programme of investment which will support the transformation of health care facilities. Over the period 2016-2021 a capital allocation of €3.061 billion is being provided. This includes additional funding of €568m. The welcome extension of the capital planning horizon to 2021, and the increased funding available in the later years provides scope for the commitment of additional investment concentrated towards the end of the period.”

Minister Lynch welcomed the announcement and said: “We are now in a position to improve and replace the physical environments that have been home to many of our older persons. Modern facilities can enhance the experience for both residents and the staff caring for them. Residents deserve to live in a place that provides dignity and privacy. HSE staff deserve to work in conditions that allow them to perform their important role without the constraints sometimes imposed by outdated facilities. Today’s announcement will also allow us to improve conditions for people with a disability in residential care. In line with Government policy, we will continue to move away from care provided in institutions towards care in the community where appropriate.

The plan breaks down into four national hospital projects, with work expected to start next year:

  • The new children’s hospital at St James’s Hospital campus and satellite centres at Blanchardstown and Tallaght;
  • The relocation of the National Maternity Hospital to St Vincent’s as the first part of a wider programme to provide new maternity hospital facilities;
  • The construction of the National Forensic Mental Health Services Campus in Portrane;
  • And develop the new National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.

And five major nationwide projects:

  • The development of Community Nursing Units for older people and new, improved models of accommodation for people with a disability;
  • Relocating the Rotunda to Blanchardstown, the Coombe to St James’s campus, and Limerick Maternity Hospital to University Hospital Limerick in Dooradoyle;
  • The Primary Care Centre Programme;
  • The National Plan for Radiation Oncology in Cork, Galway and Beaumont;
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

The exact timing of the delivery of the above programmes and projects will have regard to issues such as planning, and the overall total of funding available each year.

Ends

Details

The following major health capital programmes will be undertaken over the period 2016-2021.

Hospital projects

National Children’s Hospital
The new children’s hospital and its two satellite centres at Blanchardstown (Connolly) and Tallaght hospitals will be completed.

The new children’s hospital is the largest health infrastructure project ever undertaken in Ireland. It will also be the largest single capital investment in health in the history of the State. It will bring the three existing children’s hospitals (Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, and the National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght Hospital) together into one entity on one campus, tri-located with St James’s Hospital and a planned maternity hospital (the Coombe).

National Maternity Hospital
Best practice is to co-locate maternity hospitals with adult acute hospitals. This allows important facilities like ICU to be shared, means specialists like cardiologists and endocrinologists are nearby if a pregnancy is complicated and ensures that women are not separated from their newborn if they become sick. Plans to relocate the National Maternity Hospital to the St. Vincent’s campus are at an advanced stage and a design scheme has recently been completed.

National Forensic Mental Health Services
The new National Forensic Mental Health Services Campus will replace the current outdated Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum. It will comprise a 120 bed National Forensic Hospital, a ten bed Mental Health Intellectual Disability Forensic Unit, and a ten bed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Forensic Unit. Following completion of the main facility, three 30 bed Intensive Care Rehabilitation Units to be located in Portrane, Cork and Galway will be delivered. In line with Government policy, we will continue to move away from care provided in institutions towards care in the community where appropriate.

National Rehabilitation Hospital
There will be additional funding provided for the redevelopment of the National Rehabilitation Hospital which will provide 120 modern replacement beds and associated therapy space.

National projects

Community Nursing Units for Older People and Accommodation for those with a Disability
Quality accommodation is important in supporting the needs of those older people and people with disabilities with long term care requirements. Additional funding of €300m over the later years of the 2016-2021 period will, building upon the existing projects, allow for an enhanced programme to replace, upgrade and refurbish long term care facilities. This will significantly improve the standard of residential facilities and facilitate person centred care.

Maternity
The increased funding under the Capital Plan will enable a wider maternity capital programme towards the later years of the period, involving in particular the relocation of the Rotunda to Blanchardstown, the Coombe to St James, and Limerick maternity hospital to Dooradoyle. There are approximately 9,000 births annually in the Rotunda and the Coombe and over 4,500 in Limerick maternity hospital.

Primary Care Programme
The development of primary care remains central to the Government’s objective to deliver a high-quality, integrated and cost-effective health care service. The development of primary care is central to this, by shifting the balance of care from a hospital-centric service to one located in the community, enabling people to easily access a broad spectrum of services through their local Primary Care Team. Over the period the PPP primary care centre project will deliver 14 primary care centres. In addition further primary care centres will be delivered using the operational lease and direct build mechanisms. The development of further primary care centres will facilitate the delivery of multi-disciplinary services to meet  the great majority of people’s healthcare needs in the most appropriate and  economic setting.

National Plan for Radiation Oncology
The number of newly diagnosed cancers is increasing by 3-4% annually and is projected to more than double in the period to 2040. Over the period to 2021, the new departments at Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Galway will be completed, delivering 5 linear accelerators at Cork and 4 at Galway, and there will be further investment in facilities at Beaumont. These are essential developments in delivering future capacity needs.

Information and Communications Technology
Information and Communications Technology in Irish health care has fallen behind international standards and developments in the private sector including general practice, pharmacy and private hospitals. This plan will allow us to start catching up on ICT modernisation, including a new financial management system, facilitating the provision of important and timely information.