Children's hospital shows HSE as "highly dysfunctional"

The director general of the HSE warned TDs that it cannot progress with the project at St James's under the current budget

Children's hospital shows HSE as "highly dysfunctional"

File photo

A retired surgeon has called the admission from the Health Service Executive (HSE) chief executive that it cannot afford to build the new national children’s hospital "extraordinary".

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Dr Jimmy Sheehan - a retired orthopedic surgeon and the founder and developer of the Blackrock, Galway and Hermitage clinics - called the HSE "a totally dysfunctional system".

"It's extraordinary at this stage of the game to come out with a statement like that," he said. "It's very sad and it's indicative of a totally dysfunctional system."

Dr Sheehan doubted the money from the sale of the Lotto franchise is still available for the children's hospital build, as well as stating that the contract price for the St James's Hospital site is out of line. 

"In the cost that they're now talking about, it doesn't include the cost of site clearance. They're in the process of demolishing 21 separate units up there and they all have to be re-positioned [...] Those costs are not included."

Earlier this week. Director General Tony O'Brien warned TDs that the HSE cannot progress with the project at St James's "within the current capital envelope".

The health service is not even in a position to sign contracts on the project at present, Mr O’Brien told a private session of the Dáil Committee on the Future of Healthcare earlier this week.

It's reported that one of the country's largest building contractors BAM Ireland have been awarded the contract to build the hospital in Dublin - at a cost of almost €1bn

Fianna Fáil has criticised the HSE and the Department of Health - saying lack of leadership has led to the cost being more than expected. 

Labour spokesperson on health Alan Kelly TD has called on the Minister Simon Harris to urgently explain today how the costs for the children's hospital have spiralled out of control by over 50% when inflation has been practically zero.

Scoliosis theatre

Dr Sheehan also said the scoliosis theatre announced for Crumlin Children's Hospital by Minister for Health Simon Harris has been ready for at least 18 months.

"You don't design hospitals you can't staff", he said. "Scoliosis procedures are very complex. They're very slow procedures and they're very limited with what you can do in a year [...] You need a lot of resources and man-power.

"It's an absolute national disgrace to have young children with scoliosis waiting any amount of time because the spine deteriorates very rapidly."