Tag Archives: National Children’s Hospital

Construction on The National Children’s Hospital began with a budget of €800m

This afternoon.

Public Accounts Committee, Dáil at the Convention Centre, Dublin.

Via RTÉ:

TDs have raised concerns that the cost of the National Children’s Hospital could rise to almost €2 billion, after its management board revealed the contractors have made an additional half a billion worth of claims.

David Gunning of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee that an additional 906 contractor claims have been made with a value of €446 million.

This is in addition to the €1.43bn cost for the project agreed by the Cabinet in 2019.

Neither the board nor the Department of Health will divulge the real costs for fear of litigation from the contractor.

Children’s hospital cost could rise to €2bn, PAC hears (RTÉ)

Meanwhile…

Oh.

RollingNews

Thanks Giggidygoo

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy (above left)  and Department of Health Secretary General Robert Watt (above right) whose letter to the Public Accounts Committe warns against any discussion on costs or dates on construction of  the National Children’s Hospital (top)

This afternoon.

The Department of Health is refusing to release details of a review into the new Children’s Hospital to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), according to Social Democrats co-leader, and vice-chair of the PAC, Catherine Murphy.

Earlier this month, Mr Watt sent the PAC a letter which states:

“There is an extremely high likelihood that any discussion on costs or dates, however hypothetical, even from the draft stages of the process, would prejudice enforcement of the existing contract and very likely undermine the role of the Development Bord in its ongoing engagement with the main contractor.”

Ms Murphy said:

“A comprehensive review of this project, by the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board and the Department of Health, has been ongoing since last year. The Minister was given their draft report in January.

“In February, the PAC was told that report would be concluded within weeks – at which point there would finally be clarity about the hospital’s budget. But there appears to be a new approach now there is a new Secretary General.

According to Mr Watt, all of the most controversial information about this project – the cost and timeline – is suddenly too sensitive to publish. What a stroke of luck for the Department.

“The PAC is the State’s public spending watchdog. How on earth is it supposed to do its job if Departments won’t tell us how much they are spending? Mr Watt’s intervention has ensured this debacle has gone from tragedy to farce.

This latest review is at least the 13th into this omnishambles. Between 2017 and 2019, 11 separate reviews were undertaken at a cost of €700,000. An additional report was then sought from PwC at a cost of €450,000.

“After 12 reports costing €1.15 million, what did we learn? That the taxpayer would be lucky to emerge with any change from €1.7 billion for this project.

“Now, there is another report, the details of which are apparently too explosive to publish. What is the Department trying to hide?

“We know there have been more than 800 claims submitted by the contractor and the Hospital Development Board has been without a chairperson, and two members, since January.

How much is this project going to cost the Irish people; when is it going to be delivered and who is in charge of delivery?

“It is incredible that we still don’t have answers to these basic questions.”

Previously: There Cannot Be Price Certainty At This Point

The paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre at Tallaght University Hospital is contractually scheduled to be completed in February 2021

This morning/afternoon.

Members of National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) appeared before the joint Oireachtas Health Committee….

In an opening statement David Gunning, chief officer of board, says since the project started the contractors, BAM, have made “hundreds of millions of euros” in extra claims.

This is consuming a significant amount of executive and project-team time

Mr Gunning states: “In December 2018, the Government approved an investment decision of €1.433bn for the project.

He said there are “a number of exceptions” that have always been outside of this investment, and for which there cannot be price certainty at this point, or for the duration of the project.

“These include, for example, national construction inflation in excess of 4pc, any changes in scope resulting from healthcare policy change, statutory changes and the Employment Order.

“The last time the NPHDB was before the Oireachtas Committee on Health, in November 2019, we advised the committee that the main contractor was behind schedule on the construction works.

“At that time, the delay was four months, and it was our view that the main contractor could have made up the time. However, by the time the main contractor closed the site in March as a result of the Covd-19 restrictions, the delay had increased to six months….”

National Children’s hospital delayed again as August 2022 deadline will not be met (Independent.ie)

Meanwhile…

Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said:

“It was disappointing to hear in the board’s opening statement that there have been hundreds of claims for hundreds of millions of euro in relation to this development.

What was particularly frustrating, however, was the inability of NHPDB to give us a working assumption of both the estimated completion date and estimated total cost of the hospital project.

“Given the evidence we have heard here today, it is not credible for the board to talk about working towards the original completion date. More than nine months of progress has been lost this year alone and who knows what else is going to hold this project up.

It is concerning that NHPDB cannot provide details of expected cost overruns or a breakdown of the legal fees contained in the €1.433 billion estimate for the project.

Ms Shortall added:

“The board said today it will not be in a position to provide an update on the costs and timeline of the National Children’s Hospital project until the first quarter of 2021. We need to bring NHPDB before the Health Committee again in January to answer pre-set questions that the public and taxpayer are entitled to.

“It is highly unsatisfactory that that board was not able to answer our questions today and it is not an acceptable way for a public body to operate.”

RolingNews

 

The proposed new National Children’s Hospital; from an article on IPVM

Shaped like an eye.

Made for looking…

This afternoon.

Charles Rollet reports on IPVM (the ‘world’s leading authority on video surveillance’):

The world’s most expensive hospital project ever, the new Children’s Hospital in Ireland, has chosen an all-Hikvision surveillance system including specialized facial recognition cameras, IPVM has found.

Privacy experts and an Irish politician raised serious concerns about this to IPVM, due to the sensitivity of deploying facial recognition in a children’s hospital and the use of Hikvision cameras given its recent human rights sanctions and China government control.

The NCH, which is currently under construction in Dublin, has already attracted controversy for its spiraling price tag which now stands at $2 billion.

…IPVM made a Freedom of Information request about the NCH’s video surveillance system, and we received one detailing all the “equipment brand and models being used on the NCH project”

While NCH would not disclose the camera counts or pricing, we estimate in the range of a million Euros for the project including at least hundreds of cameras. Given the size of the hospital campus, the variety of high-end models selected (facial recognition, ANPR, PTZs, people-counting, etc.), this is a large project.

IPVM asked about Hikvision’s Xinjiang sanctions and we received a generic response ignoring this question:

“The safety of patients, visitors and staff at the new children’s hospital is of paramount importance to everyone working on the new children’s hospital project.

Stanley Security Systems, who have been working in this area for more than 25 years, were successful in the competitive procurement process for the installation of the security systems at the new children’s hospital.”

Using facial recognition on children is highly sensitive; in both Sweden and France, schools that attempted to use facial recognition were banned from doing so by data regulators due to the GDPR, which Ireland is also subject to.

IPVM asked the NCH directly why it had specified facial recognition cameras and we received this response:

“It has not yet been decided which aspect of this technology’s many capabilities will be used in the new children’s hospital. This decision will be taken nearer the opening of the hospital by Children’s Health Ireland and will be in line with Irish and European data protection and privacy legislation and in such a way as to ensure that the occupants of the hospital have the right protections afforded to them, in line with their privacy rights..”

Meanwhile…

Anyone?

Ireland National Children’s Hospital Chooses Hikvision End-to-End With Facial Recognition (IPVM)

Pic: IPVM

Proposed National Children’s Hospital

No, seriously.

RTÉ reports:

The head of the board responsible for the new national children’s hospital says it cannot be certain of the final price of the project.

The project has been highly controversial, this week the Labour party claimed the project would now exceed €2bn.

A letter from David Gunning, the chief officer of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, read out at the Public Accounts Committee today said: “There have been a number of exceptions that have been outside the approved budget for which there cannot be price certainty at this point or for the duration of the project.”

Concern grows over final costs for new children’s hospital (RTÉ)

Previously: How Much?




Building & Allied Trades’ Union (BATU) President Martin Malone (above) and bricklayers Terry Dey and Karl Deregan (pic 2) this morning

This morning.

St James’s Hospital site, Dublin.

SIPTU activists and members of other construction industry unions protest outside the site of the new National Children’s Hospital to highlight bogus self-employment in the construction sector.

Related: Bogus Self Employment: The Abuse That Keeps On Taking

RollingNews

More than €1m has been paid to a communications company managing publicity for the National Children’s Hospital, it has emerged.

In 2015, €204,509 was paid to communications company Q4PR.

This increased to €274,567 in 2016,

€276,467 the following year,

and €248,050 in 2018.

The Dublin-based firm’s contract is due to continue until March 2021.

€1m paid to publicists for National Children’s Hospital (Irish Examiner)

This morning.

At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.

Chair of the committee Sean Fleming, above, raised a matter he referred to as “hiding in plain sight”.

He told the committee that correspondence it received from the HSE had confirmed that PwC were last year engaged to advise the HSE about the Government’s decision regarding what to do about the National Children’s Hospital.

But, two months later, in January 2019, PwC was also paid almost €500,000 to carry out a review of the hospital’s cost overruns.

Mr Fleming said:

“It was inappropriate of the HSE to request PwC to carry out that report given that PwC, at the request of the HSE, only two months earlier were involved in the process reviewing the gross maximum cost and providing their professional and specialist input from a financial point of view to the HSE which led to the decision for the project to proceed…”

He added that it was a “gross conflict of interest” on the part of PwC and HSE were “very wrong” to commission PwC for both reports.

Mr Fleming added that the HSE also knew about the conflict.

He also said that, as Independent TD Catherine Connolly mentioned previously, while PwC wasn’t requested to give any conclusion about the best option for the hospital, following its examination in January, it did anyway and this was to conclude that the project should go ahead.

He said:

“Here we have, PwC, in a report, drawing a conclusion, saying that the decision that was made, as a result of their previous, professional input to the earlier decision-making process was the correct decision in relation to proceeding.

“I find it extraordinary…”

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said, it seemed to him, that PwC was paid twice for the same advice.

He also noted that, in the correspondence from the HSE, the HSE stated it’s satisfied there was no conflict of interest.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly asked if the Government knew that PwC had been previously been involved before it was hired in January.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said, in her opinion, such conflicts can cause “corruption of a process”.

She said the committee will likely be told about “Chinese walls” but she said the committee needs to know if the same arm of the company carried out the two reports.

Ms Murphy pointed out that there have been recent news reports in the UK about the over dominance of the four big accountancy firms [namely Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC]

In light of that, she asked:

“Do we design our rules that really don’t allow more entities into that space? I suspect that we make it much more difficult for middle-ranking firms to compete and we need to look at that. Because that would have a bearing on value for money.”

Watch back here

From top: the PWC report into cost overruns at the National Children’s Hospital; graph depicting the original budget and additional costs

A report into cost overruns at the National Children’s Hospital has warned that the final cost of the project could exceed €1.7bn.

According to the review, “significant failures” occurred during the crucial planning and budgeting stages.

It found that the project could never be delivered within the financial parameters agreed.

It warned that risks remain with the project and if these are not effectively managed, it could lead to further costs rises in the capital works….

Read full PWC report here here

Earlier: ‘Red Flags Missed’

Review over new children’s hospital warns final cost could exceed €1.7bn (RTÉ)