Children's Hospital project rises like phoenix from difficult past

Ireland’s long-awaited National Children’s Hospital has been named after the phoenix, and like the mythical firebird, it has risen from its difficult past.

Children's Hospital project rises like phoenix from difficult past

The €1bn children’s hospital, which is under construction, will be known as the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris turned the sod for the paediatric outpatients and urgent care centre at Connolly Hospital, Dublin, yesterday.

The new facility will open in the summer of 2019 and will be followed in 2020 by a twin facility in Tallaght hospital.

The main hospital, which will bring together the three existing paediatric hospitals on a campus shared with St James’s Hospital, will be ready in 2022. The clinical network of paediatric services will be known as Phoenix Children’s Health.

The name was chosen from over 300 suggested by staff and users of acute paediatric services and their families.

Paediatric emergency medicine consultant and clinical director at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dr Sean Walsh, revealed that the new name was suggested by a staff member.

Those involved in choosing the name believe it best reflects the values and vision for paediatric services. It is also easy to read and pronounce and easily translated into Irish.

Mr Varadkar said the children’s hospital project, the most significant healthcare investment ever undertaken by the state, would have an impact on children, young people, and families for decades to come.

Mr Harris said that giving the project a name made it more real and meaningful and that over the years, children, young people, and their families would have a better understanding of how the services connect.

The Youth Advisory Council, a group of 20 children and young people who share their experiences as hospital users to improve them for other children, believe the mythical name will give reassurance to patients and their families.

Phoenix Children’s Health chief executive Eilísh Hardiman said its new name represented renewal, the birth of opportunities, regeneration, vision, hope, and inspiration.

Earlier, Mr Harris said the children’s hospital and the paediatric development board had gone “above and beyond” in making sure that the hospital would exceed fire safety standards.

The board lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála seeking to be relieved of Dublin City Council’s requirements relating to a water-sprinkler system in the planned atrium.

Mr Harris said cost was not an issue and that they would go along with whatever the planning body decided.

“It is very important to state that this hospital has already been planned and designed to exceed the fire safety standards that are already there in terms of regulations and law,” he said.

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