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Dr Fin Breatnach, who was formerly Director of the National Haematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Centre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, told the Medical Independent (MI):“The main and stated reason on the part of Government for putting it on the James’s site is based on a false assumption.”
Dr Breatnach said the claim was “unsupported by scientific study”. He said that if the Government’s reasoning was correct, the UK had made a poor decision in locating the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital “in a park on its own”.
“We are in favour of tri-location — a children’s hospital with an adult hospital and a maternity hospital,” he added.
Dr Breatnach is part of Connolly for Kids Hospital, an alliance that is “deeply concerned” about the selection of the St James’s site for the NCH. It recently launched a petition campaign. The alliance says Connolly offers much greater access and space.
Dr Roisin Healy, former Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, and spokesperson for the alliance, said the clinical outcome improvement would be connected to the three children’s hospitals coming together alongside a maternity hospital.
However, it is planned that the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital will relocate to the site of St James’s so that the NCH will eventually be tri-located.
Planning permission for the NCH was submitted in August 2015. In February, An Bord Pleanála said that, due to the complexity and the number of issues involved, it would not reach its decision that month. Its decision is now expected by 12 May.
In January, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar stated that the expertise of the clinical staff in the proposed NCH and St James’s “match appropriately”. He said the shared skills and expertise “are precisely what is required for the care of the most complex and life-threatening conditions with which children from all over Ireland will present to the new children’s hospital”.