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Friday 15 December 2017

Children's hospital opens new ward – despite being hit by top-up fallout

Temple Street patient Dylan Doyle (4), from Ballymun, helps Irish cyclist Dan Martin cut the ribbon to the revamped ward. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Temple Street patient Dylan Doyle (4), from Ballymun, helps Irish cyclist Dan Martin cut the ribbon to the revamped ward. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Dan Martin meets patient nineteen-month-old Hailey Mwende from Dublin and nurse Elaine McDonald at Temple Street hospital.
Denise Fitzgerald, the CEO of Children's Fund for Health

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

FUNDRAISING for Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin has been badly hit in the wake of the top-ups scandals.

The hospital – which is hugely reliant on charity donations – yesterday unveiled a major makeover for one of its wards which treats nearly 2,000 children, but had gone largely unchanged since the 1930s.

The upgrade, which will hugely benefit children with conditions like cystic fibrosis, cost €2m but more than €1.65m had to come from donations.

Denise Fitzgerald, chief executive of the Children's Fund for Health (CFFH), the fundraising arm of Temple Street, said charities are feeling the fallout of the top-ups controversy.

More donors are now asking questions about where the money is going and its own funding has suffered, although it appears to be modest, she said. Asked how it spends its fundraising income, Ms Fitzgerald pointed out it publishes its annual accounts on its website.

It raised €4.5m in 2012 and €3.5m was directed into projects and expenditure which support the treatment and care of more than 150,000 who are treated in the hospital annually.

It spent €560,000 on administration and governing the charity, of which €449,000 goes on the salaries of 10 its staff. Ms Fitzgerald's salary is €104,000.

"We have been lobbying for a charity regulator for years so that the public has security and strength. It is great we are going to have one now. Temple Street has huge needs and we ask people to help."

The new-look Top Flat Ward has four and two bedded units with four single isolation rooms which are fitted with an air-pressured controlled environment .

It is of particular benefit to children with infections, including cystic fibrosis sufferers. One of the single rooms is also to be fitted out to monitor children who have uncontrolled epilepsy.

Triona Priestley (15), from Clonsilla, Dublin, who has cystic fibrosis and spends stretches in the ward every four to six weeks, is delighted with the new conditions and it also got the thumbs up from Dylan, one of its youngest patients.

Triona's mother, Bernie, said the new facilities will add years to the life of her daughter and protect her from being exposed to threatening infections.


"For us it means coming into a safe place , something we were unsure we would ever see. Triona was sick last week and she should probably have been admitted, but the hospital was crazy and she we had to just wait until an isolation unit became available.

"This means Triona can focus on fighting infection and not worry about picking up anything else. It's a dream come true."

Top cyclist Dan Martin, who was guest at the launch and has fundraised for the hospital, said he was amazed at the amount of facilities that rely on charity donations.

"I was six weeks premature and hopefully my story will inspire others," he said. Another cycle for the hospital will be held on June 7.

A small number of managers in the hospital are getting salary top-ups, but none come from charity donations.

Irish Independent

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