National Children’s hospital approved

Plans for the €1bn National Children’s Hospital in Dublin 8 have been approved this week by the Irish Government.

On Wednesday 26 April, the Irish Government gave the green light to fund the construction of the new National Children’s Hospital which is scheduled to open in 2021.

The National Children’s Hospital (NCH) will be located on the same site as St James’ Hospital. There will also be two satellite hospitals as part of the project, which will be located in Connolly Hospital (Blanchardstown), and Tallaght Hospital. A research centre is also in the plans.

“Our children have waited a long time for this new hospital but there is light at the end of the tunnel now,” Minister for Health Simon Harris said.

The Minister added that, as the clearing of the site already began last year, it is now almost complete and the construction of the hospital should commence in the next few weeks.

The original cost of the project (including the two satellite hospitals) was approved in 2014 at a price of €650m. However, due to an extended timeframe and an increase in projected construction inflation, from 3% to a now 9% per annum, the total cost of the hospital has risen to just over €1bn.

The new hospital at St James’ will be built on a 12-acre site. It will have over 6,150 rooms and an additional 380 individual rooms will each have an en-suite attached to them. The individual rooms will also have beds where parents can sleep, which gives them the opportunity to stay with their children overnight.

The two paediatric satellite hospitals located in Blanchardstown and Tallaght will host both outpatients and urgent care centres. The centre at Connolly will include a paediatric dental care service and operating theatres. Both centres will have consultant-led urgent care; observation and therapy rooms and an examination unit for child sexual abuse.

“What we are really celebrating today is that the capital investment required to support the development of a single children’s hospital central to a clinical network of services which represents a significant leap forward in paediatric healthcare in Ireland,” Eilísh Hardiman, chief executive of the Children’s Hospital Group, said.

“We are on the cusp of changing how paediatric services are delivered in Ireland. It is a time of real and significant change for all of us involved in caring for children, young people and their families and we are delighted for patients, their families and our staff,” she added.

The site of where the new hospital will be built has raised concern and the decision has become controversial as there have been many debates over how accessible the hospital is in the case of emergencies.

There have been protests against the hospital being built in the Dublin 8 area and many have urged that the new hospital should be built as an extension to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown as patients would have easier access through the motorway.

Access to the St James’ site was also considered in the development plans and as the project has now been confirmed on this location, it offers numerous options for the public where transport is concerned.

The new site for the hospital has six bus routes that pass through the campus, three Luas stops that serve the campus and three Dublin Bike stations. Train services are also easily accessed as Heuston Station is nearby.

The site will also cater for those driving to the hospital by providing underground car parking spaces (some of which can be pre-booked), and there will be 31 emergency spaces outside the hospital’s emergency department.

Plans to further develop St James’ campus consist of a proposal to move the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital to the campus as to create a tri-location of adult, paediatric and maternity services on the one hospital campus.

“The new children’s hospital design has incorporated the required operational links with both maternity and adult hospitals which will facilitate the move by the Coombe to this shared campus,” said Dr Sharon Sheehan, CEO of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.

“We look forward to bringing the full breadth and depth of women and infant services that operate in the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital onto the St. James’s Hospital campus site to tri-locate with St. James’s Hospital and the new children’s hospital. Our women and infants deserve no less,” she added.

The contractor selected for the construction of the NCH and the two satellite hospitals is BAM Building Ltd..

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