Petition over children’s hospital move signed by 60k

by Aisling Kennedy

A CAMPAIGN group, calling on the Government to build the new National Children’s hospital at Connolly, Blanchardstown, instead of at the site of St James’s Hospital, has received more than 60,000 signatures in an online petition.
The petition by the Connolly For Kids Hospital (C4KH) group was presented last week by a large group of families and sick children who are also demanding to meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss why they feel the Blanchardstown site would be more suitable for a children’s hospital.
An Bord Pleanala granted planning permission for the hospital at the St James’s site earlier this year, but the C4KH group are not giving up hope.
The campaigners are demanding an Oireachtas hearing to review the location before building begins later this year, and their call is being backed by some leading healthcare experts.
The C4KH group believe there are many advantages of developing the hospital in Blanchardstown, such as the 145-acre site, easier access to those outside Dublin, extensive parking possibilities, and co-location with Connolly Adult Hospital and the new Rotunda Maternity Hospital. They also believe the hospital would be cheaper and faster to build at Connolly.
Dr Fin Breathnach said: “The one co-location which will result in lives being saved, that of the children’s hospital with a maternity hospital, is being jeopardised by the Government’s blind perseverance with this deeply flawed site.
“If a co-located maternity hospital is not built, then it is inevitable that babies will continue to die each year during the planned 100 years lifespan of the children’s hospital.”
Meanwhile Senator and former Health Minister James Reilly who appeared on the Sean Moncrieff show recently argued that St James’s Hospital is far better equipped for this task.
“We chose the right site on the advice of a panel of national and international people. The goal of the hospital was to treat as many children with rare conditions as possible within Ireland itself. This hospital needs to be built as quickly as possible,” he said.
A joint statement by the C4KH group; the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board; Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin; Temple Street Children’s University Hospital; the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, and St James’s Hospital was also issued stating their reasons why the children’s hospital should be built at St James’s.
“Sharing a campus with St James’s will deliver better clinical outcomes and improved survival rates for the sickest children and young people,” it read.
“Much of the infrastructure of the three Dublin children’s hospitals does not allow us to provide the best possible care, as services are on three different locations in Dublin, and this is a source of great daily frustration for all the committed staff working in pediatric services. This critical level of clinical support is not available at Connolly Hospital.”
In addition, the three Professors of Pediatrics in three of the Dublin universities collectively endorsed the campus at St James’s Hospital as the right location for the new children’s hospital.
They believe that the campus is unparalleled in the academic opportunity it presents not just for pediatrics but the wider health system.

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