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  • Southside

Hospital move is ‘a great step forward’ says minister

Thursday, 7th September, 2017 6:00pm
Hospital move is ‘a great step forward’ says minister

Minister for Health Simon Harris (pictured here in April) says An Bord Pleanala’s decision is great step forward for women and children’s healthcare in Ireland.

Hospital move is ‘a great step forward’ says minister

Minister for Health Simon Harris (pictured here in April) says An Bord Pleanala’s decision is great step forward for women and children’s healthcare in Ireland.

THE decision by An Bord Pleanala to grant planning permission for the new National Maternity Hospital on the St Vincent’s University Hospital campus at Elm Park is a major step forward for women and children’s healthcare in Ireland, it was declared last week.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said he was delighted that the green light had been given for the new maternity hospital.

“This is fantastic news and a very important step towards making the new standard of maternity care, heralded by the National Maternity Strategy, a reality,” the minister stated.

“We all know that the infrastructure at NMH is outdated and now we can now look forward to a state-of-the-art hospital where women and their babies will enjoy comfort and privacy in a modern, purpose-built environment.”

The minister stated that the new hospital will cater for up to 10,000 births per annum and will radically improve maternity, gynaecology and neonatal healthcare, both at local and national level.

The hospital is the flagship project of the National Maternity Strategy and represents the single largest investment ever in maternity services. 

The hospital will be co-located with the St Vincent’s University Hospital.

In a joint statement the Chairman and Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Mr Nicholas Kearns and Dr Rhona Mahony, said: “We are delighted at this news which comes after a huge amount of hard work by very many people to bring the project this far.

“It is a very important milestone and we look forward to ongoing cooperation with St Vincent’s Hospital Group to ensure this vital project proceeds to completion as soon as possible.”

When it became known that the new hospital would be owned by the Sisters of Charity, there were protests over fears the facility would be run under a Catholic ethos.

But further controversy was averted when the order announced last May that it would end its involvement in the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, relinquishing control over St Vincent’s public and private hospitals as well as St Michael’s Hospital in Dún Laoghaire.

The minister also revealed last week that a single statutory body will run the new national Children’s Hospital

The new Children’s Health Bill 2017 will see a new body taking over the services of the existing three Dublin children’s hospitals, (Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, and the National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght Hospital).

It will also run the new children’s hospital, which is being built on a campus shared with St James’s Hospital, as well as the paediatric outpatient and urgent care centres at Connolly and Tallaght Hospitals. 

“I am delighted to announce today the publication of the General Scheme, approved by Government last month, of the Children’s Health Bill 2017,” Minister Harris said.

“This is a very important step on the road towards the new children’s hospital and follows the Government decision in April to approve the construction investment for the hospital.

“This new hospital is an extraordinary opportunity to transform paediatric services in Ireland by bringing together patients and staff from across the three existing children’s hospitals into a single organisation.

“This will improve the experience and outcomes for children and their families."

The minister added that the publication of the bill provides for the establishment of a single body to govern and manage paediatric services.

This will also facilitate planning for the transition of staff and services to the outpatient and urgent care centres, which will open several years ahead of the new children’s hospital opening.

It will also support the organisation of the clinical and non-clinical services in an integrated manner across the existing sites before the move to the new hospital.

As a body corporate established by an Act of the Oireachtas, the new entity will have the powers and functions to function as the national tertiary paediatric service.

It will now have the necessary status to take on a leadership role nationally in relation to paediatric healthcare and as an international player in paediatric research and innovation. 

Minister Harris added: “I very much welcome the support of the three children’s hospital boards in the decision and the work to establish a legal entity for the new hospital.”

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