childrens hospital
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Childrens Hospital

The long running saga of the new Childrens Hospital continues and the beavers are working away at planning for the Hospital to be situated as part of the St. James Hospital complex. There are so many against this and we, in the North of the country, should be against it vocally and we should be submitting an objection as it is not a convenient location as the problems for us to get there and then find a parking space anyway close to the hospital will be big. We should be lobbying for the hospital to be sited as part of the Connolly Hospital at Blanchardstown. It is much more suitable for traffic from all directions and has over 147 acres on which to build and have a Car park. It can also have easy access approach roads.

This is all amplified again today when we read in the Irish Times that there are major problems at the Gates to St. James’s with taxis and narrow roadways and parking problems. Here I reprint some quotes from the article in The Times and you can make up your own mind: ‘Hospital staff, particularly those staff trying to ensure that the entry into the hospital is kept clear, are the most at risk of abuse, the Dublin Midlands hospital group, which includes St James’s, said this week.’ – ‘Taxis previously used an area outside the entrance as a “wait” area but this was redesignated as a set-down and pick-up area in 2011. The hospital said the change was made “out of necessity” arising from a significant number of serious risk incidents caused by taxis. These included double parking on a single-lane road, illegal parking on adjacent pavements and consistent blocking of the road and main entrance to the hospital. This resulted in major congestion and difficulties for patients, ambulances and general public gaining access to the hospital, the hospital group told the Dublin Mid-Leinster Regional Health Forum this week’.

You might say that this hospital has been in planning for too long and it is needed immediately and work should go ahead where it is planned. Surely that is not good enough – parents and patients, local inhabitants and other users of the road network anyway close to St, James’s will not thank us for that. However we should be asking – why is it taking so long for the planning and why is it costing so much to get this planning done. Huge millions have already been spent and they are still planning. Public consultation seems to have been very limited and once again powers that be should have learned the lesson from other projects – consult the people who matter most – the prospective users – but they never learn. There is too much to be gained by getting the job done too quickly.

The above was written over a week ago and things have progressed since then. Planning permission has been granted to them to build at St. James's. The vested interests have won and once again we have to accept a decision which so many, including paediatricians, know to be the wrong decision. We were supposed to believe the reasons why it is going to be there and not at Connolly but there are fudges and just like when they were downgrading Monaghan, we are not given the full facts and people believe top brass without question. For example they tell us that there are better outcomes for the children when it is situated beside an Adult hospital - there has been no research and no evidence that this is true. It is preferred but not essential we are told. Connolly is an adult hospital anyway as well as St. James. Indeed some of the tertiary specialities needed for a Childrens hospital are not in St. James's. If the Rotunda Maternity moves to Connolly, as planned, that is where the Childrens Hospital should be to have neonatology and neurosurgery services as well. However the planners say that it is not necessary to have a Maternity beside a Childrens Hospital yet babies are high risk to die or become brain damaged during a five minute ambulance transfer from Maternity to a Childrens Hospital in emergencies. We are told that the Coombe Maternity will move to St. James's - no planning or research for this has been done and where will it be put - there is no space. The existing site at the Crumlin Hospital is bigger than what there is at St. James's for the Childrens Hospital we are told yet this is where they have decided to put the Childrens Hospital and tell us they will also put a Maternity Hospital. Who are they kidding. Another problem will be parking at the new hospital. The Mater site was turned down partly because there was not enough space for adequate parking. We are now told that there was more parking facilities at the Mater than there will be at St. James's but they still passed it. It also seems the planners did not consider any other site as they felt that there is not an 'ideal site' even though the majority of the objections to St. James's recommended Connolly. An International Review carried out in 2011 stated that the new hospital should be on green space with sufficient space to provide for all the requirements of the Childrens Hospital plus research and educational facilities and to be tri-located with Adult Tertiary and Maternity hospitals. The Connolly site could have provided all this and more but not St. James's yet St. James's was selected. Because of all the bungling and long wait and immediate need for a proper hospital for children the decision was pushed on by vested interests and the sick children of the future and their families were way down the order of importance. History, in my opinion, will judge this decision harshly.