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Construction of the new children’s hospital will commence within weeks, according to the Department of Health.
Minister for Health Simon Harris said he anticipates that the new hospital will open in 2021, with the two Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres at Tallaght and Connolly opening at the end of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019.
The announcement is a welcome relief for Minister Harris in the midst of the recent controversies surrounding ownership of the National Maternity Hospital when it moves to the St Vincent’s site.
According to the Department, integrating the three existing paediatric hospitals, the opening of the OPD and Urgent Care Centres and the transfer of services to the new hospital facilities represent a highly complex project. Minister Harris will bring the Heads of a Bill to Government next month, to establish a single entity to integrate the services currently provided by the three hospitals, prepare for the transition to the new facilities and ultimately to run the children’s hospital and OPD and Urgent Care Centres when they open.
The St James’s campus will also be home to the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital thus achieving tri-location of adult, paediatric and maternity services, stated the Department.
The total capital cost for the delivery of the project at St James’s Hospital and the Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres is €1.07bn, of which €1.004bn is Exchequer related, made up of €916m Exchequer capital and €88m Exchequer ICT capital. Car park and retail facilities are not intended to be Government funded on the basis that they are commercially viable businesses which can be commercially funded, stated the Department, which said the project will be managed and delivered within these parameters.