News Health

Saturday 21 September 2019

Varadkar's patch 'best location for maternity unit'

Health Minister Leo Varadkar
Health Minister Leo Varadkar
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Pregnant women in north Dublin would have less distance to travel if a new maternity hospital was located in the campus of the Mater Hospital rather than in Connolly Hospital, in the constituency of Health Minister Leo Varadkar, according to an unpublished report.

It was announced over the summer that a new Rotunda Hospital would be built on the site of Connolly Hospital, which is also in the constituency of Labour leader Joan Burton.

An internal report of the best location, drawn up by officials in advance of its going to Cabinet, said the average road distance expectant mothers in the north Dublin region would need to travel to get to the Mater location was 9.7km, compared with 12.4km if they had to go to the Connolly location in west Dublin to give birth.

However, the report concluded that while the Mater was the "nearest" option, the difference was small and Connolly had a number of advantages, including presenting a low risk of the new maternity hospital being turned down for planning permission.

A bid to build the national children's hospital at the Mater campus was previously rejected.

It said co-locating with Connolly Hospital would provide access, via the M50, to pregnant women who come from peripheral areas of Dublin and neighbouring counties.

It said the expectation is that this overhaul would see a shift, with more women from west Dublin attending the Rotunda service at Connolly, and more north inner city women going to the Coombe maternity hospital, which is to be located at the campus of St James's Hospital.

It said that the potential for Connolly to improve access to maternity services for women from west Dublin and neighbouring counties is an advantage.

The Rotunda is part of the RCSI hospital group, which also includes Connolly Hospital.

The decision to locate the maternity hospital in Connolly follows an earlier decision to also open one of the satellite centres there to be linked to the new National Children's Hospital.

No date has been set for work to begin on the new Rotunda Hospital.

Irish Independent

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