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Wednesday 20 November 2019

Officials from North to get say in children's hospital

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Officials from Northern Ireland are to have a say in the building and running of the new national children's hospital in Dublin.

The long-awaited hospital, due to be built on the campus of St James's Hospital in Dublin, has yet to be designed or given planning permission.

The decision in November to switch the location to St James's, instead of the Mater Hospital, has meant health officials have gone back to the drawing board to decide how the work should be overseen.

Health Minister James Reilly said he was now considering how the new children's hospital might best contribute to an all-island health service for children.

"I have discussed this possibility with my Northern colleague, Minister Edwin Poots, and further discussions have been held between our respective departments in this regard.

"I am seeking to ensure the involvement of Northern Ireland members in the governance arrangements for. . . the building of the new hospital," he said.

He also foresaw that they would have representation on the board that needs to be set up to help govern the existing Dublin children's hospitals and the new hospital in the longer term.

The Department of Health yesterday declined to say if Dr Reilly would be seeking any funding for the hospital from Northern Ireland. It will cost in the region of €600m.

He said a relationship was already in place between Crumlin hospital in Dublin and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in providing paediatric congenital cardiac surgery services to patients from Northern Ireland.

In a series of parliamentary replies on the progress of the proposed new hospital, he said the last board overseeing the project ended its term in December.

He is now drawing up new proposals on how the work on the new site will be overseen and governed.

Irish Independent

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