National children’s hospital will ‘significantly enhance the service’

By Maurice Garvey

PROPOSALS to build the new €650m new national children’s hospital in St James’s Hospital contain faults, according to the board developing the project.

Last Monday was the first day of an oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála (ABP) regarding the planning application for the massive project – which also includes a research centre and children’s accommodation in St James, satellite centres at Tallaght Hospital and Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, along with an ambulatory compound at Davitt Road in Drimnagh.

Childrens Hosp Aerial View resized

Outlining the St James’s site, Jarlath Fitzimons SC said it had “occasional demerits” as well as merits and that ABP would have to strike a balance in considering the clear and obvious benefits of the project.

The plans have been heavily criticised by a number of groups, including local residents who have cited parking and noise as major concerns, along with fears that they will be living beside a building site for 20 years.

Groups across the country have questioned the validity of housing the new childrens hospital in a busy congested city location, with many favouring greenfield sites close to the M50.

In a joint statement, advocates for the new hospital welcomed the commencement of the hearing process.

A joint statement by Eilísh Hardiman, CEO, Children’s Hospital Group; Helen Shortt, CEO, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Mona Baker, CEO, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, David Slevin, CEO, Tallaght Hospital, and Lorcan Birthistle, CEO, St James’s Hospital, said:

“The new children’s hospital on a shared campus with St James’s Hospital will bring together the three existing children’s hospitals in a modern building that is custom-built to deliver the best clinical treatments.

"Its completion will facilitate better clinical outcomes and increased operational efficiency, as well as significantly enhancing the experience of service for children, young people, their families and staff.

“We believe that the proposed site is the best site for the children’s hospital for clinical reasons. Its location on a shared campus with Ireland’s leading teaching hospital, St James’s Hospital, and in time the relocated Coombe maternity hospital, will provide optimal clinical treatment and outcomes for Ireland’s sickest children and adolescents.”

John Pollock, Project Director, National Paediatric Hospital Development Board said the campus has more public transport links than any other hospital in the country and there was over 1,000 hours of engagement and consultation with local residents and businesses.

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