Department of Health statement on MES findings

The following is a statement issued to us by the Department on the buildings at the centre of the MES report.

Update of works

To note: References to legionella and asbestos risks in this report are primarily internal notes identifying the fact that asbestos is present in the building and also that, because of the nature of the somewhat dated plumbing installations, there is a risk of legionella. This in no way implies that these risks are not being managed in a totally appropriate manner in line with all statutory requirements and in accordance with best practice. The DHSSPS requires and receives assurances to this effect from its Arms Length Bodies regularly.

RGH Children’s Hospital

It is accepted that the current building is not fit for purpose in terms of the expectations of modern-day clinical practice and environmental quality.

A business case process is underway in relation to the development of a new Children’s Hospital, to be delivered over the next few years.

It was recognised that, with the extended use of the existing old building, interim measures should be taken to mitigate any current risks. Accordingly a business case process for approximately £6m of interim measures is currently being assessed.

£516k has already been allocated and spent in addressing some of these areas.

RGH EENT Building

This building has been identified as one which has virtually reached the end of its useful life and does not provide an appropriate environment for the delivery of modern day health services.

The plan over coming years is to transfer services from this building to more appropriate accommodation and vacate and demolish this building.

To date £793k has been spent to mitigate risks associated with the occupancy of the building.

RGH Site Services and Infrastructure

The overall resilience of site services and infrastructure has been reviewed and a business case for a site services project of approx £31m has been submitted to the Department. An initial phase of £3.1m is currently under construction to address the resilience of the high voltage infrastructure on site.

Additionally £1.2m has been spent on other prioritized site services issues.

Out-Patients Department

This building no longer meets all the requirements for the delivery of modern out-patient services and the Trust are currently planning a phased relocation of services from this building over the next few years, at which stage the building would be demolished. This movement of services is in alignment with the “Transforming Your Care” policy of delivering more services in community settings.

To date £342k has been spent on fire safety and other measures to address the identified issues.

RGH Maternity

The funding for the provision of a new Maternity Building has been allocated (£46m). Part of the new accommodation has already been provided within the almost complete new Critical Care Building of which the top three floors will provide Maternity Out-Patients and Post Natal Wards.

Additionally £250k has been spent on interim measures to address MES issues. A further £500k has been allocated to address infection control issues.

BCH Windsor House

This is one of the oldest buildings in our estate and no longer meets modern-day requirements for mental health services.

Funding for the replacement of the building and the rationalization of other psychiatric services in the Belfast area has been approved (£32m). The procurement process for the project is underway.

In the interim £42k has been spent on fire safety measures.

Belfast City Hospital – Gardner Robb

This building no longer meets current requirements and it is planned that it will be replaced. Accordingly the Belfast Trust are in the process of preparing a business case for a wider theatre reconfiguration project which will incorporate the services currently provided in the Gardner Robb building. £32k has been spent to date on interim measures in addition to significant investment in infection control equipment.

Dufferin and Ava – Belfast City Hospital

Again these buildings are no longer seen as part of the core estate and will in fact be demolished to create the site for the new mental facility to replace Windsor House. Significant areas of the building are already unoccupied.

A significant element of the services provided in the building will transfer to the Duke of Connaught building at Musgrave Park, and the remaining services will be relocated within the existing estate.

Rheumatology Building – Musgrave Park Hospital

The services currently provided in this old building will also be relocated into the Duke of Connaught building on the Musgrave Park site within 18 months. The building will then be demolished.

Forster Green Hospital

The neurology services provided from this building have already been transferred to a new purpose-built facility on the Musgrave Park Site (new cost £5m).

The Forster Green building is now vacated and it is planned that it will be demolished shortly.

Ulster Hospital: Main Ward and Paediatric Block

The Ulster Hospital site has been the subject of a major redevelopment programme, with the aim of replacing virtually all of the original hospital accommodation.

Recent developments to be value of approximately £93m have already been completed, allowing significant elements of the services to relocate to purpose built accommodation. These include theatres, intensive care, laboratories, maternity, renal, Central Sterile Service Department (CSSD) and other support activities.

The enabling works for the next £190m phase of the project are nearing completion on site and the contractor selection process for the main scheme has now concluded.

In the interim £3.8m has been spent on interim MES measures with a further £1.8m being spent on upgrading the existing A&E Department.

Altnagelvin Hospital

This hospital is the subject of an ongoing major redevelopment programme, including the provision of a major new Ward Block, Endoscopy Unit, Pharmacy and Laboratory.

The on-going programme will include the provision of a new Radiotherapy Centre and a further Ward Block to replace current unsatisfactory accommodation within the old tower. Funding for these projects has already been identified.

In the interim a new fire lift (£2m) has been completed, and a further £1.82m has been allocated to cover a range of MES issues, such as fire alarm upgrades, rewiring, boiler replacement, stand-by generators, low voltage switch gear and anti-legionnella measures.

Craigavon Hospital

An ongoing development programme addressing MES and service issues has been underway for some time. This has included the recent completion of a new Trauma and Orthopaedic theatre block, 2 further general theatres, and a further major development project (£11m) to shortly commence construction.

A first phase of site electrical services upgrading (£2-5m) has already been approved and further projects (£14m) are currently at business case stage.

South Tyrone Hospital

Following significant analysis a preliminary business case was prepared by the Trust for £2m to deal with the building defects identified. This preliminary case has been approved by the Department to allow the process to proceed to the next stage.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service

The NIFRS have recently identified a suitable site for the relocation of their Vehicle Maintenance Workshops and are currently preparing a business case to facilitate the funding of this move.