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Freeze the child hospital project

I WISH to congratulate you for your perceptive leading article (‘Master plan must be reconsidered’, October 12).

One cannot oppose the principle of rationalisation of a children’s hospital configuration that is the result of history and accident — rather than common sense or good management.

However, the implementation proposals, as you point out, are deeply flawed and will militate against the best interests of children, at huge and unnecessary expense.

The priority now must be to persuade Health Minister Mary Harney not to cancel the overall project but to freeze these implementation proposals before contracts are signed, irrevocable administrative and design decisions taken and further substantial sums are spent or committed.

An independent review body should then examine all proposals in the clear and bleak light of 2010 and the spatial configuration of Dublin in the decades ahead. A sensible and much less expensive alternative proposal was for a single institution with two campuses and a distribution of specialist services between them.

One campus would be at the Mater hospital site, incorporating Temple Street and the Rotunda women’s hospital, serving the city’s northside and the northern half of the state.

The other would be at the adult teaching hospital at Tallaght incorporating the Coombe women’s hospital and with an arrangement between the existing National Children’s Hospital and the Crumlin facility relocated to that site near the Luas, the M50 and the M7. This would serve the southside and the southern half of the country.

But the immediate priority is to pause and, as you put it, revisit. And let’s do so calmly and clinically — for our children.

Maurice O’Connell

Fenit

Tralee

Co Kerry


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