Maternity services to move to new homes

by Gazette Reporter

Maternity services at the Rotunda Hospital are to be moved to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, as part of a major restructuring of Dublin maternity services which will also see Holles Street services move to St Vincent’s and the Coombe services moved to St James’s.
The Government decision was taken in response to recommendations from the Department of Health, on foot of an independent review of maternity services by KPMG. The decision means that all three Dublin maternity hospitals will at a future stage be located alongside major adult teaching hospitals. This follows the earlier decision to move the National Maternity Hospital from Holles Street to the campus at St Vincent’s University Hospital.
The Department said it consulted widely to take account not only of the current attendance patterns at the hospitals but also looked to see how access for patients could be improved.
A number of potential campus sites for the Rotunda were examined in terms of planning risks, site capacity, demographics and a range of clinical criteria. The review considered the composition of hospital groups, and attempted to best align the hospitals within the relevant hospital group.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said that although the Rotunda and the Coombe have served Dublin and the country well as standalone hospitals, the best practice is to co-locate maternity hospitals with adult acute hospitals.
“Both hospitals need significant capital investment, particularly the Rotunda, which is more than a century old in parts. Rebuilding these hospitals on new campus sites will be safer for mothers and will ensure access to a full range of specialised services like intensive care, cardiology and other specialties when needed, without necessitating patient transfer,” he said.
He went on to say that tri-location with paediatric services further enhances the clinical benefits for babies born with illnesses.
Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, master of the Rotunda Hospital, said the hospital looks forward to developing a world-class facility at Connolly.
“The hospital is delighted to welcome the announcement. Co-location of the Rotunda with a significant acute adult partner has been the Rotunda’s strategic ambition for some time,” he said.
Tanaiste Joan Burton also welcomed the Government decision saying the relocation of the Rotunda maternity services to Connolly Hospital made sense to have maternity services on a site near the M50 in terms of accessibility. She says the Connolly site has easy access in and out of Dublin and with good public transport links.
“It’s a good development for mothers and babies in the wider Dublin region, and indeed for the whole population of the northeast. It will bring the service closer to mothers and babies, and provide better access to updated facilities for premature babies and babies needing special care and attention after birth,” she said.

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