Children's hospital unit has to phase in services due to doctor shortage
The first satellite centre linked to the new National Children's Hospital will have to deliver services on a phased basis initially due to a shortage of doctors.
The new centre, based in Connolly Hospital in west Dublin, will operate as a paediatric outpatient and urgent care unit. It will open at the end of this month.
It will link up with the new €1.7bn National Children's Hospital, which is being built on the campus of St James's Hospital in the south inner city, and will open in 2023.
The paediatric urgent care centre in Connolly will offer treatment for minor injury and illnesses as well as a short stay observation unit, where children are monitored and treated for up to six hours before being discharged or referred to one of the children's hospitals.
It will run on a phased basis.
The centre will also provide outpatient services and during the initial phase two, specialties - general paediatric services and orthopaedic care - will have clinics from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
A spokeswoman for Children's Health Ireland, which oversees the three children's hospitals, said the recruitment of staff for the Connolly centre "is well advanced".
The majority of doctors, nurses, health and social care professionals and administrative staff that are required have been recruited, with many staff already based at the new facility.
However, she said there were recruitment challenges nationally and internationally in certain specialities, such as paediatric radiology and emergency medicine.
"Children's Health Ireland acknowledges these challenges and has a contingency plan which will ensure that radiology support is in place in time for the opening of the new service," she added.
"While we have been successful in our recruitment campaign, we have temporary vacancies due to maternity and backfill requirements for some posts.
"A total of 13 consultant posts are included in the HSE National Service Plan 2019 to support services at Connolly. To date, 10 of these positions have been filled.
"All nursing positions have been successfully filled within the organisation through internal and external recruitment campaigns."
The health and social care professionals and administrative and operations posts are being filled through an internal recruitment campaign, with an external recruitment campaign to follow if additional 'backfill' is required, the spokeswoman added.