Coombe claims hospital would cost half price

The €650m cost for the long-delayed national children’s hospital could be halved if the facility was built at the Coombe instead of the Mater, it has been claimed.

Senior officials at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin made the claim yesterday in their latest bid to convince decision-makers to base the development there.

In a submission to an independent group choosing the site, master of the Coombe Dr Chris Fitzpatrick said his hospital’s proposal would be a “deluxe version” of existing plans “at a significantly lower cost”.

He said the Coombe move was the “most cost-effective option at €358m, excluding fit-out”, compared to €650m for the Mater, €510m for St James’s, and €440m for the Phoenix Park racecourse options.

In terms of the medical benefits, he said the Coombe could provide “immediate tri-location with a maternity hospital,” which he described as “the most important factor in saving the lives of the most critically ill children in the State”.

He said his hospital had an “enormous site at 20.5 acres” of which 60% “will be left free for future campus development, which could include a school for sick children and their siblings, integrated training, education and research facilities”.

Importantly for speeding up the long-delayed plans to significantly improve medical services for seriously ill children, he said the land was:

* Immediately available;

* Zoned for a hospital;

* Would have the “fastest construction time of all tri-located proposals due to unimpeded site and straightforward construction”.

The Coombe proposal is competing with as many as 15 other site plans.

The blueprints and their costs are being examined by the independent National Paediatric Hospital Development Board.

This group is due to report to Health Minister James Reilly on June 8.

Speaking at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in Killarney, Co Kerry, at the start of May, development board member and Dragon’s Den investor Norah Casey said some of the plans might be attempts to get rid of boom-era land.

* The full document outlining the potential costs and services put forward by the Coombe is available at www.coombe.ie.


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