There has been plenty of opposition and concern expressed since the location of the new children’s hospital was unveiled, with many claiming overcrowding, lack of potential for expansion and being ‘land-locked’ as reasons to choose Connolly Hospital as an alternative.
However, a collective group made up of The Children’s Hospital Group, the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght and St. James’s Hospital have unanimously stated that the planned location is the right place.
According to the group, sharing a campus with St. James’s Hospital will deliver better clinical outcomes and improved survival rates for the sickest children and young people.
Collectively they have stated that they are committed to delivering a state of the art children’s hospital and to providing the right care and services, in the right location, by the right team, for local children and for Ireland’s most vulnerable children and young people.
Professors of Paediatrics, Owen Smith (UCD), Eleanor Molloy (TCD) and Alf Nicholson (RSCI) agree, saying: “We, the three Professors of Paediatrics in three of the Dublin universities, collectively endorse the campus at St James’s Hospital (SJH) as the right location for the new children’s hospital, which also accommodates paediatric academic and research facilities.”
“This campus is unparalleled in the academic opportunity it presents not just for paediatrics but the wider health system.”
But why do they insist St. James’s is the right location?
“There are many reasons why the campus shared with St James’s Hospital is the right location for the new children’s hospital, but the primary one is that it has the greatest number of clinical specialties that will best support our teams in the delivery of better services and clinical outcomes for our sickest children and young people,” the group said in a statement.
“It is recognised international best practice from a clinical perspective to locate children’s hospitals on the same campus as an adult teaching hospital with the breadth and depth of specialities to support complex paediatric services and a maternity hospital that provides service for high risk mothers and babies – this is known as tri-location.
“The tri-location of these three hospitals – the new children’s hospital, St James’s Hospital and in time the relocated Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital - will create a campus of unrivalled clinical expertise to support highly specialist service delivery, research, innovation and education.
The staff of the three children’s hospitals, families, children and young people, as well as, children’s health and advocacy groups and the faculties of paediatrics have been campaigning for a new children’s hospital for decades.
Following a long and detailed planning process, more than 1,000 hours of engagement with all stakeholders, and a comprehensive oral hearing in December, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the development of the new children’s hospital on a campus shared with St. James’s Hospital.
Construction work for the first phase of the project is scheduled to commence within a matter of weeks.
“We want to continue to reassure all families, children and young people that our ability to deliver the best possible care and improved outcomes for sick children will be enhanced once the new children’s hospital, located on a campus shared with St. James’s Hospital, is completed. We look forward to serving the needs of children, young people and families in this new children’s hospital for generations to come.”