Tuesday 17 October 2017

Hospital plan ruling to take '18 weeks'

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

A revamped planning application for the National Children's Hospital at the Mater site will take 18 weeks or less for a decision once submitted to An Bord Pleanala, it emerged yesterday.

However, it is unclear how much of a delay there will be before revised plans for the hospital are ready for submission, after the original design was rejected by An Bord Pleanala last week.

An expert group, chaired by former HSE chairman Dr Frank Dolphin, will be formed this week to analyse An Bord Pleanala's decision and come up with a number of suggestions which will go to Health Minister James Reilly.

The group, to be announced this week, will be discussed at today's Cabinet meeting and will be made up of planning and design experts, as well as paediatricians.

The task will be to come up with a smaller version on the Mater site without compromising the standard of care needed for sick children.

An Bord Pleanala last week rejected the planning application for the €650m hospital on grounds of height and scale -- pushing back the 2016 opening date yet again.

The hospital's development board, which gave the go-ahead to the original plan, will meet for the first time to discuss the decision.

Before any new design is drafted, a series of pre-planning meetings will take place with inspectors from An Bord Pleanala to discuss key issues.

An Bord Pleanala took 22 weeks to consider the original application but it is likely to meet its 18-week target deadline for any second application because so much has already been analysed.

A spokesman for the development board said yesterday that work had already begun on looking at new design options.

Irish Independent

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