The Government’s Comments on Children’s Hospital

The Government statement is available here:

A range of materials including  the Dolphin Report are available here:

The primary motivation for change and the development of the new
children’s hospital is that children, young people and their families
deserve the highest possible standard of care. This project is a
unique opportunity to transform the provision of healthcare services
to the sickest children in Ireland. The new children’s hospital is a
key commitment in the Programme for Government and the largest project
within the current Capital Plan.

When will the new hospital be built and opened?

At the moment, on the basis of estimates in the St James’s proposal
and in the Dolphin Group report at the new hospital could be
substantially complete in late 2017 / early 2018.

·        Work can commence immediately in relation to vacating the
relevant temporary structures and buildings on the St James site that
currently provide clinical and non- clinical services.

·        The proposed Development site for the Paediatric Hospital can
be available within 6 months with clearance, decanting and enabling
works happening during 2013 and 2014

·        Construction of the new children’s hospital can commence by
2015 (2H).

How accessible is this location for patients and families?

Firstly it is important to point out that optimal clinical care is the
overriding important factor.

The Dolphin Report notes that St James has “excellent public transport
services” with 4 bus services, a Luas stop on campus and two others
adjacent, noting a risk of traffic congestion near the Rialto Gate.
There will be helicopter access to the hospital.

A higher percentage of children in Dublin (48%) live within a 10km
radius of St James than live within 10km of any other potential site.

There will be sufficient car parking for this facility.

Benefits of having one national children’s hospital – It is generally
accepted within the paediatric healthcare community that care for the
sickest children, who require access to highly specialist
professionals, equipment and facilities is best accommodated in one
hospital.  With a population of 4.2 million people Ireland can only
support a single hospital for some specialist paediatric services,
such as cancer treatment, bone marrow transplants, neurosurgery and
cardiothoracic surgery.

From 2006 to date there has been a consistency in agreeing with the
overall principles and proposed assessment criteria set out in the
2006 McKinsey report. The importance of the principle of tri-location
was emphasised in submissions to the various review groups (Joint Task
Group 2006, RKW Framework Brief 2007, 2008 KPMG review of Dublin
Maternity services and Independent Review 2011).  In all cases, the
reports and reviews concur that co-location with an adult teaching
hospital and preferably tri-location with a maternity hospital is the
optimal choice.  The Dolphin Review Group recommended that the
Minister remains on this path.

Benefits of tri-location – Maternity and paediatric service
co-location has advantages for infants with congenital malformations,
for foetal medicine or complications which require neonatal surgery.
Better imaging allows for pre-birth diagnosis of serious congenital
malformations in many cases. These infants can then have planned
delivery at a maternity hospital co-located with the paediatric to
give them the best chance of a good outcome. Maternity and adult
service co-location has advantages for mothers in providing on-campus
rapid and ready access to non-obstetric specialist expertise, and to
specialist surgery and intensive care in the case

Why was a greenfield site not chosen? The Dolphin report concluded
that co-location with an adult teaching hospital was necessary for
best clinical care, and tri-location to include a maternity hospital
is optimal. Greenfield sites simply don’t offer this opportunity –
that would entail building another adult teaching hospital in the
greenfield space and that is simply not viable at the moment.

Planning approval – Plans for the Children’s Hospital will have to be
given approval by An Bord Pleanála

Project cost – For reasons of commercial sensitivity Dept Health has
suggests not discussing actual prices. It is important not to impact
the future tendering process.