Two CUH capital projects result in a €2.7m overspend

Two CUH capital projects result in a €2.7m overspend

An aerial view of the Cork University Hospital campus at Wilton. Documents revealed by Fianna Fáil showed that two on-site capital projects overran their expected costs by €2.7m. Picture: Tom Coakley

TWO projects commissioned by Cork University Hospital (CUH) since 2010 led to an overspend of around €2.7 million, it has been revealed.

Figures show that of the 38 major capital projects in health and education completed since 2010 nationwide, the final bill exceeded the agreed tender price in 35 of them.

The extra bills amount to some €42m in total, including a €1.2 million overspend on the provision of new cardiac and renal facilities at CUH.

The overspend in CUH came about after the hospital agreed to the construction of additional accommodation during the project.

The €85m Cardiac Renal Centre at CUH was officially opened in October, 2010, by then-Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The Centre has since been described by hospital chief executive, Tony McNamara, as one of the key developments at the hospital in recent years.

It saw services centralised at CUH, ensuring patients had access, on one site, to the combined expertise and skills of staff who care for people with cardiac and renal conditions.

CUH also went over the original tender price while reconfiguring the existing paediatric outpatient department to provide additional isolation facilities and capacity.

The project, originally tendered at €8.9 million, ended up costing more than €10.4 million, a difference of just over €1.5m.

Documents obtained by Fianna Fáil show the overspend was put down to the fit-out and extension of the second floor area, which was designated for and paid by University College Cork.

A third project, undertaken by CUH, to replace the acute mental health unit and facilitate the development of the radiation oncology facility, actually came in under budget by around €139,000.

The acute mental health unit, which cost €15 million, replaced the existing 46-bed unit at the hospital.

Two more projects at CUH, both in relation to the new Radiation Oncology unit which is expected to be fully operational in the coming months, are expected to cost around €27m and €10m each respectively.

It is not yet known whether either project has gone over the tendered price as both are still in the construction phase.

The new €35 million Radiation Oncology Centre on the hospital grounds aims to provide state of the art cancer treatment and care.

Cork TD and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath, said that 20 of the 23 major capital health projects across Ireland since 2010 ended up costing more than the agreed contract price.

“The total extra amount paid above and beyond what was contracted was €30.5m,” he revealed.

“While various reasons have been offered by the HSE including changes in project scope, it is deeply concerning that almost 90% of capital projects in health cost more than planned during this period.

“While the sums involved in the National Children’s Hospital debacle are extraordinary, this data shows the difficulties in managing capital projects do not end there,” said Deputy McGrath.

He called for a review of how public capital projects are managed in Ireland.

“We need to know why so many projects end up costing taxpayers far more than planned and we need to stop this trend,” said Deputy McGrath.

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