National Children’s Hospital – NO to Mater Site

This is a message from the NEW CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL ALLIANCE


– *I believe there is a huge public appetite to get this decision [the location on the National Paediatric Hospital] right – Enda Kenny, TD, Leader of Fine Gael *

– “This statement by Philip Lynch…..confirms the issues around the difficulties of planning at such a limited site. This must lead to a re-think” James Reilly, TD, Deputy Leader of Fine Gael.

– Parents, children and taxpayers deserve a full and frank outline of the decisions behind the funding and indeed location of this hospital. It is the least they deserve. There are far too many unanswered questions. Irish Independent, Editorial – 23.10.2010 – on Philip Lynch’s resignation.

– A radical thought suggests itself. How about making the nation’s children the template for universal health insurance and devolve to interested parties the building and running of the facility subject to stringent safeguards? Irish Times – 27.07.2010 – Dr Maurice Neligan

– A decision made during an era of unfounded national hubris should be re-examined in these days of stark fiscal reality. Irish Times – 10.08.2010 – Dr Maurice Neligan

– Fear of being left with nothing is understandable, but the fear of not developing the best facility to serve our children should frighten us much, much more. Irish Times 23.10.2010 – Breda O’Brien

– The letter [from Philip *Lynch*, tendering his retirement because of *fundemental differences* ” with the Minister], dated October 5th, and a replying letter sent by Ms *Harney *the following day, were released last week by the Department of Health.The Minister’s letter reveals that she had sought Mr Lynch’s resignation following a meeting a number of days previously…. [ Minister Harney says in her letter] “It has always been clear to me that the mandate of the board and its chairperson is to achieve the construction and commissioning of the new hospital at the site adjacent
to the Mater hospital. …It is not, however, within the remit of the Development Board to revisit the Government decision taken on* the location *of the new hospital. This is, in my view, an entirely appropriate constraint on the role of the board and its chairperson…The *fundamental differences between us relate to this core issue [location] and not to any other issues*.” HEALTHPLUS , The Irish Times – 16.11.2010 – Martin Wall

IT’S THE LOCATION, (stupid?)



* Statement February 2011*

We look forward to the new Government (March 2011) ordering an urgent review of the current National Paediatric Hospital (NPH) project . We would wish to see that review conducted promptly by a small group of unbiased experts including international experts:-

– The McKinsey Report planning assessment criteria should be reviewed and weighted in importance relative to each other by the group, with the addition of the criterion of colocation with a Maternity hospital.

– A “workable plan” for the location of inpatient beds, secondary and emergency care for the Dublin region recommended as essential by McKinsey, but ignored by the Location Group, must be developed before the NPH location is finalised.

– Submissions to date, many of them very detailed, informed and expert , – to the Location Group, to the Transition Group , to the RKW consultants and to the NPH Development Board -should be available to the Review Group. The
recommendations in these submissions have been almost totally ignored by these various HSE/DoHC groups.

– Governance, budget and brand of the children’s hospital must remain identifiably independent of any adult hospital – as stressed by international comment within the McKinsey Report.

– The importance of the presence of the Universities and space for an on-site Academic Health Sciences Centre must be promoted..

– The location decision, made in June 2006 without a Model of Care to inform it and widely believed to have been politically corrupted, was wrong for children in 2006 and is still wrong for children in 2011. The Model of Care currently being developed and redeveloped ad hoc, and the proposed decanting of many services to the Tallaght site, is driven by the constraints of the constricted, sloping Mater site, not by the needs of children.

Claims for the primacy of the colocation criterion have been discredited, but its relentless promotion by political interests has damaged and held back the consideration of the broader needs of sick chiidren.

Totemic buildings cannot of themselves deliver great, not even adequate, healthcare. If the Mater development goes ahead, serious emergencies within the Greater Dublin Region(GDA) will face unacceptable transport time risks; access and travel times from outwith the GDA will be unjustifiably prolonged for many sick children in need of tertiary care, while car parking with only one third of the internationally recommended number of spaces on the Mater campus, will remain a constant and expensive nightmare for staff and parents.

Staff are already distressed about plans to shoehorn departments into inadequate space, while the 25% minimum expansion space, which should be a ‘sine qua non’ of an elective new build is non-existent. Expensive, artificial gardens in the sky are planned to compensate for the lack of natural green space around the hospital. Centre city builds, by the DoHC’s own assessment, “can add dramatically to the construction costs” -a further significant consideration in these straitened times. The design of the hospital, a16 storey high rise building, taller than Liberty Hall(13 storeys), with 29 elevators, will inevitably lead to hugely increased maintenance costs.

A proper Model of Care – based on children’s needs, not on a pre-chosen site’s capacity – must be the foundation stone of a workable NPH. This would be designed to be responsive to future needs, with space to expand and embrace new technologies in the 21st century, thus fulfilling what the New Children’s Hospital Alliance sees the NPH’s imperative to ensure ‘best outcome and best experience’ for sick children and their families over the next century.

We believe that an Independent Review, called for by Fine Gael, Labour, the Green Party and Sinn Fein in 2006, and again in 2007, but refused by the then Government ( We will “not revisit decisions already made” – Minister Harney, January 2007), will result in a new location – with a National Paediatric Hospital, built more cheaply on a greenfield site, one that will be responsive to the needs of children and their families from all over Ireland now and in the future.

Now, Febuary 2011, with the project only at the stage of pre-planning application consultation with An Bord Pleanala , is the time to pause and have the Independent Review called for by Fine Gael and Labour and supported by the Greens and Sinn Fein.

The NPH belongs to the young citizens of Ireland -not the HSE, the Department of Health and Children or Minister Harney’s Hospital Development Board. A wrong decision remains a wrong decision. It can and it must be changed.

Some interesting, if unscientific,* ‘POLLS ‘*:-

Joe Duffy Interview/NPH Mater Suitability Poll– 18.10.10 (A text-in vote over a ten minute period.)Question : “Are you in favour of the new National Children’s Hospital being built on the Mater Hospital site? Response : *Total vote 15,438 *:- Yes: 1,623 (11%) , *No: 13,815 ( 89%)*

TV3 News at 5:30 – Children’s Hospital Route Roadtested- TV3 – 21.10.2010Time taken to travel by 2 cars starting simultaneouslyfrom* Navan* (early am), *Tullamore* (mid morning),* Kildare* (early evening), and* Bray* (late evening). One to the Mater, one to Tallaght Hospital. * Tallaght won all 4 journeys.***

– * Most consultants dismiss location of Mater NPH* – Sunday Business Post – Susan Mitchell, 21 November 2010. The Mater Hospital is not the best location for the National paediatric hospital , according to onsultants surveyed by this paper. The nationwide survey revealed *just 13 per cent of consultants supported the location.*