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Crumlin set to expand in €4.5m plans

CRUMLIN Children's Hospital is set to get a €5.4m extension to its operating theatres as the wait for a national children's hospital continues.

It has been granted permission to build the three-storey add-on, which will be funded with public money through the HSE, onto the existing operating theatre block to accommodate a hybrid cardiac laboratory.

Work is due to start in May and end next January.

Last November, the hospital opened a facility for treating children with congenital heart conditions at a cost of €4.5m.

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"A cardiac catheterisation is an investigation performed under general anaesthetic in children with known or suspected heart disease," a spokeswoman told the Herald.

"In 2012, 485 cardiac procedures were performed in our Cath Lab and 541 cardiothoracic surgical procedures, bringing the total to 1,026 cardiac procedures performed."

A new cancer unit was also built at a similar cost. Phase one of it opened in mid-2013, with phase two due to open during the coming months.

The Children's Heart Centre includes a 25-bed infant and child dedicated cardiac unit, as well as accommodation for families and staff.

Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin treats all Ireland's young cardiac patients, many of whom begin care within hours of birth.

The money for the new heart centre and cancer unit was raised by private donations and fundraising contributions through the FixCrumlin.ie fundraising campaign and thanks to the Crumlin Medical Research Foundation.

In recent years the hospital has opened three accommodation wings for families who have children in treatment there.

Crumlin Hospital was built in the mid-1950s, and is Ireland's largest paediatric hospital.

Investment in the city's older children's hospitals is still necessary despite the fact that a new national children's hospital is planned at the St James's Hospital site in Dublin.

But the planned new children's hospital has already cost €41m – even before construction work has begun.

St James's Hospital was selected as the alternative site for the building after the original Mater Hospital site was rejected. An estimated €26m of the money spent on the project when it was planned for the Mater has been written-off.

Health Minister James Reilly recently confirmed the cost had now risen to €41m.

He added that building work, which is still contingent on planning permission, would not start until next year.

cfeehan@herald.ie


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