Officials ‘misrepresented’ report on children’s hospital

Past and present government officials have been accused of misrepresenting a 2007 report on where the National Children’s Hospital should be based by wrongly claiming the structure of international facilities examined supported an “integrated” co-location site.

The New Children’s Hospital Alliance, a group of medics and parents opposed to the Mater Hospital location, has claimed the 17 facilities reviewed in the 2007 RKW report did not show the site was the best place for the facility.

This claim is in contrast to repeated public statements by senior current and former government officials.

Since 2007, the RKW report, and a 2006 report by outside consultants McKinsey, has formed the basis for the view that the hospital should be based at the Mater.

This is because of comments by former minister for health Mary Harney, former HSE chief executive Brendan Drumm, and current Health Minister James Reilly, that 15 of the 17 hospitals examined in Europe, North America, and Australia supported an “integrated” co-location with an adult hospital.

However, according to the NCHA, the report does not make any such claim. Instead, it says of the 17 facilities, only four are “integrated” child-adult co-location sites like the Mater proposal.

Another four are loose campus co-located, meaning the children’s hospital is within 2km of an adult facility but not directly beside it.

The remaining nine facilities examined are not linked to another hospital.

The NCHA said this information was not being clearly stated in the debate, and may open the possibility of an alternative location being chosen.

The NCHA claim was made as the group called on Mr Drumm — a member of the Government’s national paediatric hospital development board — to explain why the facility must be located beside an adult hospital. It said the professor, who led the health service through the key moments of the children’s hospital crisis, must make public all information on which his views are based.

NCHA’s Dr Fin Breathnach said: “We would like him to provide a definition of co-location, the name of each co-location/Mater endorsing review group, its commissioning body, its members and their professional affiliation, its terms of reference, methodology, scoring systems used for comparing sites, names of sites considered, results, recommendations and date of final report.”

Medical oncologist Senator John Crown said on Today FM he may put down a private member’s bill to overturn the ruling.

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