Monday 23 October 2017

National Maternity Hospital plans €1.5m upgrade - even as big move imminent

Holles Street needs work
Holles Street needs work
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

The National Maternity Hospital (NMH) is to upgrade an operating theatre at its Holles Street site pending a move to a new facility on the St Vincent's campus in Dublin 4.

The hospital has sought permission to install a lift and extend a theatre at a cost of up to €1.5m, saying the current building requires "constant refurbishment and upgrades" to maintain facilities "as best we can".

The planned move is currently under review amid a row over ownership and ultimate control of the proposed medical facility.

The Order of the Sisters of Charity currently owns the land at St Vincent's Hospital and is a shareholder of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group.

The €300m hospital is planned for its lands, but protests have been mounted against ownership being given to a religious order.

In a planning application to Dublin City Council, the NMH says it is seeking a two-storey extension on the third and fourth floor on the Holles Street site, which includes an extension to the existing operating theatre on the third floor, and the addition of a lift.

Internal remodelling and minor demolition of walls are also planned.

"The new extension will provide additional operating theatre rooms on the third floor," it said, adding that the works total just 129sqm.

In a statement, the hospital said the works were being completed in advance of the proposed move to St Vincent's.

"The current building at NMH requires constant refurbishment and upgrade to maintain the facilities for all patients as best we can while we await the move to St Vincent's Healthcare Group campus," it said.

"We have not gone out to tender but current initial estimates are in the region of €1.2m to €1.5m."

Separately, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has told An Bord Pleanála the Dublin 4 site for the new building is acceptable from a transportation point of view, as it is close to Dart and commuter rail services, is well served by buses and connected to the road network and there is already high levels of cycling on the campus.

Planned service improvements, including expansion of the Dart, Luas and Metro lines, would also mean that most households in the Greater Dublin Area could utilise public transport to access the hospital at a future date.

However, it warns that the potential for 'linked trips' on public transport will not be as high as in the Holles Street site, which is in the city centre. This should be "carefully considered", it added.

Segregated cycling lanes, some changes to access on Nutley Lane and a taxi holding area should also be considered.

The NTA also said a detailed management plan for construction traffic was needed.

Irish Independent

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