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‘Too early’ to say whether Covid-19 will delay new children’s hospital

It is “too early” to predict whether the Covid-19 crisis will lead to a delay in the completion and opening of the new children’s hospital, this newspaper has been told.

The major construction project is due to be finalised at the end of 2022 with an official opening date of 2023. However, construction at the site halted at the end of last month because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“All health and safety matters on the construction site of the new children’s hospital including workforce health and safety are the responsibility of the main contractor BAM,” a spokesperson for the National Paediatric Development Board (NPHDB) told the Medical Independent (MI) on 9 April.

“On 31 March, due to Covid-19, BAM announced that it had made the decision to close the site and that it was implementing a temporary shutdown plan.

“Given the health and safety risks that Covid-19 places upon its workforce, the NPHDB welcomed BAM’s decision.”

In terms of  the potential impact that the stall on construction work will have on the completion date for the new children’s hospital, the Board spokesperson told MI that it is “too early” to make a judgement call on whether there will be a delay.

“Construction of the new children’s hospital is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022 and, after a period of commissioning by Children’s Health Ireland, to open in 2023,” the spokesperson added.

“It is too early to fully assess the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the project.”

MI also asked whether the NPHDB can still meet regularly during the current crisis.

“NPHDB executive and committee meetings are continuing,” said the spokesperson adding that the last Board meeting took place on 8 April.  “Board members… participate in a virtual manner.”

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