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‘Confusion’ over hospice project — HSE

20 Feb 2017

There has been “confusion from the start” over a project to redevelop the Palliative Care Unit at Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross, Dublin, the HSE has stated.

A full submission in accordance with the HSE’s Capital Projects Manual and Approvals Protocol and the Department of Public Expenditure’s Public Spending Code was never received, and there was confusion about what was being proposed, what the total project cost was and what funding was being requested. The only project provided for in the HSE Capital Plan, 2016 — 2021, for that campus, was the request for an earlier draw down of the €5 million allocated as part of the HIQA Compliance — Long Stay Bed capital programme, the Executive indicated.

Once it was confirmed that construction had already commenced, the National Capital and Property Steering Group (NCPSG), under its terms of reference, could not recommend the allocation of capital funding.

The HSE and the Department of Health (DoH) jointly developed, in consultation with HIQA, a comprehensive capital programme for public residential accommodation for older people to deliver full compliance with approved physical/environmental standards set by HIQA for registration purposes.

This capital programme of €348 million — plus a €150m public-private partnership — was announced in November 2015, and the funding was allocated in the 2016 Capital Plan submitted to the Department by the HSE. The full programme of works was agreed and submitted to the DoH in January last year.

In this programme, €5m was allocated, bringing the long-stay beds in Our Lady’s Hospice up to HIQA standards. These works were scheduled to be completed in 2021.

A submission was received by the NCPSG in June 2015, the HSE added, and the project was costed at €14.32m.

But it said the submission was “confusing” and not all the information required was included.

A revised submission was received in February last year and again updated later in the same month, and the project was then costed at €20m. However, the amount of funding requested was also unclear, the Executive said.

A site visit last March confirmed that construction had commenced on the project, which was reviewed again in August. But it was not supported by the HSE Directorate, and was finally rejected in November.

gary.culliton@imt.ie

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