Planners should listen to the families and sick children
Published 09/12/2015 | 02:30
As a childhood cancer survivor I don't enjoy telling my story and I certainly don't enjoy getting up in front of a room to open old wounds, as I did yesterday as a representative of The New Children's Hospital Alliance at the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing.
But planners need to listen to experiences like mine.
First diagnosed at the age of 11, I have survived cancer three times. Speaking from experience, the trauma of my illness for myself and my family was exacerbated by the conditions we had to deal with.
I remember the long early morning journeys for appointments, vomiting in the back seat of our car as my parents dealt with the stresses of rush-hour traffic. Then the panic of no parking.
I have memories of my father going missing for an hour every appointment, trying to find somewhere to park the car because of the lack of parking in a city centre location.
And I can still recall the cramped, dilapidated conditions of the children's wards, the confined rooms shared with other families, my mother sleeping on the floor between my bed and the drip on laid out cushions.
All these experiences added to the trauma and the conditions - a lack of space to expand and improve, congested traffic and poor access - were all the result of poor planning.
I fear we will see a repeat of this if the James's Hospital site is given planning. There is a better alternative at Connolly Hospital, off the M50.
I hope this time the planners will listen to families and sick children.