Plans for the new children’s hospital have been dealt a blow after a body representing GPs backed calls for it to be built at a different site.
The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) said that at a recent meeting of its national council the CEO of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation outlined why the new hospital should be located at a greenfield site at Blanchardstown, instead of on the campus of St James’s Hospital.
The NAGP said that Jonathan Irwin had cited numerous arguments, including car parking restrictions and “escalating and unsustainable costs”.
Chris Goodey, the CEO of the NAGP, said it was hard to argue with such “profound logic.”
“It doesn’t really make any sense to build a national children’s hospital in a location which is clearly unsuitable, particularly when there are so many better options,” said Mr Goodey.
The NAGP is urging Health Minister Leo Varadkar to exercise his leadership and to reconsider the decision in relation to the site
“The Blanchardstown site, which is in Minister Varadkar’s, constituency will create much needed jobs in this area and a hospital in that location will be something of which future generations can be proud,” Mr Goodey said.
However, a spokeswoman for the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) said that the co-location of the new children’s hospital on a shared campus with St James’s Hospital, will increase survival rates of Ireland’s sickest children suffering from complex clinical issues.
“The Children’s Hospital Group supports the development of the new children’s hospital on a shared campus with St James’s Hospital, as do the CEOs of the three existing Dublin children’s hospitals and their directors of nursing, clinical directors and chairs of medical boards,” the spokeswoman said.
She said that the project would facilitate more effective sharing of clinical expertise, knowledge and leveraging of research capabilities.
Twelve acres have been made available on the 50-acre St James’s campus for the development of the new children’s hospital and the site has been designed for future expansion.
The planning application for the new children’s hospital, which was submitted in August, includes two paediatric out-patient departments, and urgent care satellite centres at Tallaght Hospital and Connolly Hospital.