Tuesday 25 April 2017

'Old, crumbling, unfit for purpose'

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

One of the country's main children's hospitals is old, crumbling and unfit for purpose, according to the Department of Health.

The grim picture of Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin is outlined in the Department of Health's appendix to its recent submission to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The report also contains a damning description of Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin which fails to come up to modern standards, with the "vast majority of the site" overcrowded.

Both hospitals will be closed and incorporated into the new national children's hospital due to open in 2016, saving costs of around €23m a year.

The report made a case for capital investment priorities and emphasised the need for the new hospital to go ahead.

It said infection risks were found in Temple Street operating theatres as well as fire hazards. It was a perfect example of what "not to do" if a health service wanted to build a children's hospital from scratch.

The hospital comprises four houses dating back to the 1800s and large portions of the external walls were rebuilt in 1916.

Referring to Crumlin Hospital, the report said there was a large number of prefabricated buildings, some of which were 30 years old.

It found significant problems with car parking on the campus and facilities for people with disabilities were inadequate.

"There is little by way of provision for parents of sick children, many of whom are obliged to sleep on the floor beside their child at night."

Replacement

Although an outline development control plan for Crumlin was published in 2004, involving a replacement of almost all buildings, the situation, "with notable exceptions" such as the intensive care unit and developments in radiology, has not "improved appreciably" since then.

The department's report was submitted last September in advance of the Budget. At the time of the submission, €35m was spent in preparation for the new hospital.

A spokesman for Temple Street Hospital said last night it was his understanding that some of the information in the Department of Health report was outdated.

"While we do face the infrastructural challenges of an old building, Temple Street has undergone several developments such as an extension to the outpatients department. We have also overseen several improvements and upgrades to our neo-natal high dependency unit, A&E and operating theatres. In recent times we have opened a new intensive care unit and a new isolation unit."

Referring to infection control, he said the hospital had an excellent track record.

Irish Independent

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