A TEAM of international experts committed to a review of plans to build a new national children’s hospital on the Mater Hospital campus are not required to visit the controversial site.
Yesterday a spokesperson for the Department of Health said “how they carry out the review is a matter for themselves” and Health Minister James Reilly had to respect their approach as it was an independent review.
However he said Dr Reilly “anticipates” that they will carry out site visits as appropriate and he would “facilitate their work” in any way possible.
A previous HSE/Department of Health report that recommended the Mater as the optimal location for the hospital caused uproar when it emerged the international medical experts consulted in the report had never visited the Dublin city-centre site.
The team of four carrying out the clinical leg of a new review, announced yesterday by Dr Reilly, will examine whether the potential clinical benefits of locating the children’s hospital at the Mater outweigh any cost differential and design issues, including access, of locating elsewhere.
The four are chief executives of children’s hospitals. They include Dr James Mandell, paediatric urologist and chief executive of the Children’s Hospital Boston; Dr James Shmerling, chief executive of the Children’s Hospital Colorado; Prof Peter Steer, paediatrician, neonatologist and chief executive of Children’s Health Services, Queensland, Australia and Dr Jane Collins, paediatrician and chief of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
The review will also include a financial analysis to examine the estimated cost differentials between building the hospital at the Mater site — where €29 million has already been spent — or building it to the same specification elsewhere.
This part of the review will by carried out by architect John Cooper, under the auspices of the European Health Property Network (EUPHN) and is expected to take two weeks.
Yesterday Dr Reilly said he would make the review findings known “within a matter of days of it being completed” and he would then make a decision on the future of the hospital.
Dr Reilly also said he expected Eilish Hardiman, chair of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) would remain in her post until the review is complete. Yesterday it emerged Ms Hardiman is the preferred candidate for the post of chief executive at Tallaght Hospital.
Last night the New Crumlin Hospital Group, which has lobbied for a new children’s hospital since 2002, expressed frustration at further delays to the project which are costing €650,000 per month.
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