‘No going back’ on decision for children’s hospital site

THE Government “strongly reaffirmed” the decision to locate the new national children’s hospital on the Mater Hospital site in Dublin as Temple Street also backed the proposed location.

A spokesperson said ministers discussed the issue at yesterday morning’s Cabinet meeting and there would be no change.

Earlier this week, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, said he had certain misgivings about the national hospital being located on the Mater site.

Mr Ahern said he hoped that the row over the location of the children’s hospital would not further delay the redevelopment of the Mater, which is in his constituency.

Health Minister Mary Harney stressed this week that sick children and their parents wanted a modern hospital and it should not be delayed any longer.

International hospital planners have been appointed to devise the layout of the new facility that is due to be completed in 2011 and a development board will be announced soon.

Both the board and staff of the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin, put on record their collective commitment to the development of a single new national paediatric hospital on the Mater site.

In a statement, the hospital said it accepted the criteria set by the Health Service Executive and procedures undertaken by the expert group to identify the appropriate co-located site was a “rigorous and authoritative” technical process.

“The proposed model, requiring co-location with an adult teaching hospital, has been adopted by the largest children’s hospitals in the world, and Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, accepts that the adoption of a different model would not best serve the interests of children.”

Temple Street is one of the three existing children’s hospitals in Dublin — together with Our Lady’s Hospital for children, Crumlin, and the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght.

It said that the resources within all three hospitals would be required to produce a co-operative vision of how services would be developed and provided by the new hospital.

The board of Temple Street said it did not believe it would be in the best interests of Ireland’s children to engage in inter-hospital argument that might delay the building of the new facility that was so badly needed.

“The opinions of all three existing children’s hospitals must be harnessed and turned into a positive force,” the board declared.

Paediatrician and chairman of the medical board at Temple Street, Dr Owen Hensey, said the hospital did not feel that there was a need for another review.

Dr Hensey said the hospital believed that the process by which the decision was taken to locate the children’s hospital at the Mater was above board. He also believed that people were losing track of the need to create a world-class service for Ireland’s sickest children.

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