An independent review is to be carried out into the project to build the new National Children’s Hospital on the site of the Mater Hospital in Dublin, it was announced today.
Health Minister Dr James Reilly said the project would be subject to a financial analysis carried out by architect John Cooper as well as a clinical review by four international experts.
The announcement follows the news that Eilish Hardiman is to leave her position as CEO of the National Paediatric Development Board (NPHDB) - the board charged with developing the new hospital - to take up the post of CEO of Tallaght Hospital.
Ms Hardiman is the third senior executive to depart the project in the past six months after the resignations of former NPHDB chairman Philip Lynch and his successor John Gallagher.
Some €30m has been spent on the project to date, with concerns having been expressed about the Mater location.
Today Minister Reilly said the financial analysis to be carried out will independently verify the estimated differences in cost between building, equipping and running the hospital on the site currently proposed, and if constructed to the same specification on an alternative site.
The clinical review will meanwhile examine whether the potential clinical benefits of the proposed location beside the Mater outweigh any concerns in relation to cost, design and access.
Minister Reilly said the Government was committed to the construction of a new children’s hospital and recognised the need to ensure that the project is delivered in the most cost effective way and with the maximum benefit for patients.
“It is my intention to ensure the best possible clinical outcomes for children within the resources available”, the Minister said. “
"I wish to thank the international experts who have agreed to carry out this review and I look forward to the delivery of their report in the shortest possible timeframe.”
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said the review "needs to begin as a matter of urgency".
"Ms Hardiman’s departure as CEO of the new Children’s Hospital to Tallaght Hospital is yet another setback for the project," Deputy McDonald said.
"It is now incumbent on the Minister to promptly resolve the indecision surrounding the site of the new Children’s Hospital."