£52million additional funding for healthcare in Northern Ireland
This allocation includes £38million capital funding that will allow a number of significant capital investment schemes to commence, as well as £14million to address elective care waiting times. The capital allocation includes £15.5million towards a new Children’s Hospital and associated works at the Royal Victoria Hospital site.
Welcoming the Finance Minister’s announcement today, the Health Minister said: "Children and young people have unique and specific medical requirements and this money will assist us in providing them with services that are fit for the 21st century.
"A replacement Regional Children’s Hospital is a major project that I have been keen to take forward, particularly as parts of the current facilities are nearly 100 years old. Securing this additional funding from the Executive provides me with the opportunity to move this much needed project forward to ensure that our children will receive their care and treatment in a modern paediatric environment.
"The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is at an advanced stage of developing a business case for the replacement hospital. I have asked for this to be progressed as a matter of urgency and anticipate business case approval in early 2014. This will enable work to deliver the new hospital to begin in 2014/15 with completion expected in 2020/21.”
Mr Poots added: "This investment will also provide a boost to the local construction industry. Hospital construction, by its complex nature, is labour intensive and requires the input of a wide range of small to medium sized enterprises from across all areas of the construction industry. This offers opportunities to local contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers and manufacturers. Every pound spent on construction generates in the order of £2.84 of economic benefit.”
In addition, the capital allocation will also support a number of projects across the Health Estate, including some which will support Transforming Your Care reforms. It includes £1million for a paediatric centre of excellence at Daisy Hill Hospital and £1million for a paediatric ward and ambulatory care unit at Craigavon Area Hospital. Further projects being supported are:
· £5 million Health Estate maintenance;
· £5 million to take forward loan schemes for improvements and equipment purchase for GPs and Dentists;
· £3.5 million for a centralised endoscopy decontamination unit at the Belfast City Hospital;
· £1.2 million for installation of a wind turbine at the Causeway Hospital,
· £1 million for a new electricity substation to support new developments at the Ulster Hospital;
· £0.9 million to fund the co-location of the Emergency Department and GP out of hours at Lagan Valley Hospital; and
· £0.9 million for 2 MRI scanners in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.
Many of these schemes will take a number of years to complete and the funding required to do so will be provided for within the next budget period.
The Department also received £3 million for a new logistics and support centre for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. The Minister said: "The £3million allocation will improve the backup facilities for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. Investment in these vital backup functions will help ensure the most effective service is delivered to the population of Northern Ireland.”
Commenting on the allocation of £14million for elective care waiting lists, the Minister said: "It is not acceptable that people are waiting too long for assessment and treatment. Demand for health and social care services continues to rise and this money will help to address some of the significant pressure on our hospital systems.”