Hospitals at breaking point

Claire Murphy

DOCTOR battles to raise €10m for vital baby unit revamp.

JUST two months into her role as Master of Holles Street Hospital, Dr Rhona Mahony is planning a massive ¤10m revamp of the vital neo-natal unit – but needs to find the money.

Dr Mahony says the unit, which cares for babies weighing as little as 500g, badly needs the upgrade – but says they need to raise between €5m and €10m to carry out the work, along with a new MRI scanner and research and education posts.

“We have superb cutting edge neo-natal medicine here but what we have, as well, is a building that is over 100 years old,” she said.

“We have over 2,500 admissions to our neonatal unit a year. We look after the smallest and most vulnerable citizens of our state – some who weigh as little as 500g and are born as early as 23 and 24 weeks.”

Mums Jules Fallon, Miriam O’Callaghan and Sonya Lennon, who all had their children at Holles Street, have come on board to help the fundraising.

The three women will all provide their expertise for a fashion show at the Irish Rooms at the National Gallery of Ireland on March 30. T

The National Maternity Hospital is the busiest in the State with a near record 10,000 babies born in 2011.

Dr Mahony believes that there will be no halt to the baby boom that has strained our already bulging maternity services – and paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of the nurses, doctors and admin team.

“We have had to look at how to save money and we have be more efficient,” she told the Herald. “The reason we are surviving is the hard work that our staff have taken on.

“Despite having to work harder for less pay, our staff has consistently stepped up that is how we have managed to deliver over 9,000 babies every year for the past few years.


“We are literally delivering the future, and in a country that is so economically constrained at the moment we have to focus on what is important.”

Dr Mahony said that she knows that the time for demanding the Government to cough up funds has passed.

“I am very aware that the Government faces challenges in this economic climate – they have not caused the surge in births, nor have they caused the current economic climate,” she said. “But we can’t stand still, we can’t wait for other people to take up the flack.”

Tickets for the fashion show, costing €100 each, can be obtained at