Families need to be considered with new children's hospital site - leading consultant
The needs of the entire family must be dealt with when planning a new children's hospital, a leading consultant has warned.
Paediatric cardiologist Dr Orla Franklin said sick babies and their mothers come in packages and believes the new facility should be next to a maternity hospital and not in the grounds of St James's, Dublin.
She spoke out after parents were forced to raise €4.5 million for a new cardiac centre in Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin to replace a crumbling ward after plans for the long-awaited development were dogged by delays.
Dr Franklin said she returned from England five years ago expecting to work at the new national children's hospital.
"I'm not working in the new hospital, there isn't a plan for the new hospital, there isn't a site for the new hospital," she said.
"We know it's going to be down in James's, but no one can point to the area in James's where it's going to be."
The 6.3 hectare development on the south city was agreed by Government one year ago tomorrow as an alternative for the rejected Mater hospital location in the north of the capital.
Construction had been expected to be completed over the next five years, by the end of 2017 or into the early part of 2018.
Dr Franklin said she believes in the centralisation of care for children who are critically unwell and is desperate for a new children's hospital to open its doors.
But she said it is terrible that sick newborn babies will still have to be brought by an ambulance to the facility when it is eventually built.
"I campaigned strongly to build the new hospital next to the Coombe (maternity hospital)," she said.
"Of our patients, the vast majority are newborns and their mothers have just given birth.
"I've had two new babies in in the last 24 hours. I've one mother sitting in the Coombe and one sitting in the Rotunda.
"I don't know how long their babies will survive. It would be really nice for them if what time they had they could spend adjacent to their baby."
She said it would be fantastic if the first anniversary of the St James's announcement was marked with a decision to deal with the needs of the entire family.
"Particular the mother and the baby because mothers and babies come together in packages," she added.