Thursday 18 January 2018

Connolly Hospital in €424m bid for children's facility

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Connolly Hospital in Dublin yesterday made its bid to become the site for the new national children's hospital when it unveiled its plan for a €424m facility.

The hospital in Blanchardstown has maintained a low-key approach to its plan to build the children's facility and has already presented it to a government-appointed review group.

In contrast to rival hospitals such as the Mater or St James's who are paying public relations firms to put forward their case, the hospital's clinical director, Dr Trevor Duffy, a rheumatologist, unveiled the plan.

Dr Duffy said it was proposed to have the new hospital ready by 2016 and the plan had the backing of Beaumont Hospital, the Royal College of Surgeons and Fingal County Council.

It has 50 acres available within the existing hospital campus and access to another 89 acres of state-owned National Sports Campus, previously earmarked for the 'Bertie Bowl'.

Unlike the Mater Hospital and St James's Hospital sites, which are in built-up city areas, Connolly is located in Dublin's north-west, close to the M50 and adjacent to established parks and amenity areas, including the River Tolka Linear Park and the National Aquatic Centre.

"We are promising a bright, child-centred, parent-friendly relatively low-rise building with plenty of opportunities for bringing the 'outside in', which has been proven to lower stress levels, speed up recovery times and improve overall well-being," Dr Duffy said.

Connolly Hospital and Beaumont Hospital, which is also on the northside, have already been working on teaming up by sharing different specialties, which will mean children in the new hospital would have nearby access to a range of care, including radiotherapy.

The site has plenty of room for expansion and has direct access to the M50/N3. It is served by buses and is part of a feasibility study as an area for bus rapid transit routes.

The unveiling comes as the review group, chaired by businessman Frank Dolphin, is due to report to Health Minister James Reilly with a series of options on the hospital location after receiving around 50 proposals.

Dr Reilly said he would analyse the report and bring a recommendation to Government as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the backers of the Mater Hospital said yesterday it could build the children's and maternity hospitals for a gross cost of €582m.

They claimed a net cost of €477m for both hospitals was possible but that this would be reliant on factors such as getting commercial input for the shop and car park.

Irish Independent

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