‘We deserve a better children’s hospital’

by Ian Begley

Dozens of children have posed with hand-made signs reading “We Deserve Better” as part of a social media photo campaign protesting the Government’s decision to build the new Children’s Hospital at James’s (which was recently granted planning permission).
These families strongly believe that St James’s is not suitable for the hospital, and say their campaign aims to give a voice to the current and future young patients of Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght.
The posts, which have reached over 100,000 Facebook users, include parents’ accounts of their challenges accessing the existing city centre hospitals, maternity-to-children’s hospital transfers of their critically ill newborn babies, or being stuck in ambulances during serious emergencies.
The “we deserve better” campaign, started by a group of parents in support of Connolly for Kids Hospital (C4KH) has grown in momentum with increasing numbers of families posting photos every day.
The C4KH campaign, led by parents, pediatricians and past patients of Ireland’s children’s hospitals, is asking Taoiseach Enda Kenny to “flip the sites”, building the new National Children’s Hospital, the largest strategic infrastructure in the history of the state, at the 145-acre greenfield site at Connolly Hospital on the M50, beside the new Rotunda maternity hospital, and putting the satellite urgent care unit at St James’s.
Although planning has been granted at St James’s, the C4KH group say it is still wrong to build it there.
Parents of sick children have disregarded the planning permission and say they will never stop fighting for the facilities their children deserve and the best medical outcomes possible.
Mum of five-year-old Miley wrote on her daughter’s behalf: “When I was a neonate I was rushed through the city three times. From Holles Street to Crumlin, back to Holles Street, and back to Crumlin. I had two major operations and three journeys all while I was only 2lbs.”
Mother of Zack, a cardiac patient, also wrote: “Zach was that child in an ambulance stuck in traffic trying to get to Crumlin when he had a respiratory/cardiac arrest. Locating the new hospital in an even more congested area further into the city makes no sense.
“Those minutes can feel very long when your child’s life hangs in the balance.
“Sick children and their families shouldn’t have to worry about traffic or parking. We’ve waited long enough for a children’s hospital that’s fit for purpose. Let’s get this right, for now and for future generations.”

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