Dáil debates

Wednesday, 27 September 2006


Hospitals Building Programme.

3:00 pm

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)

A review of tertiary paediatric services carried out by McKinsey & Company on behalf of the Health Service Executive recommended the establishment of a single tertiary paediatric hospital in Dublin, co-located with a leading adult academic hospital. Subsequently, a joint HSE-Department of Health and Children task group was established to advise on the optimum location of the proposed new hospital. The task group's report was submitted to the board of the HSE on 1 June last, and its recommendation that the new paediatric hospital be developed as an independent hospital on a site to be made available by the Mater Hospital was endorsed by the board. At its meeting on 8 June, the Government also strongly endorsed the recommendation.

Neither the Taoiseach, I nor any other members of the Government had meetings or discussions with the task group during the course of its work. I am satisfied that the task group undertook a rigorous and robust examination of the key issues in arriving at its recommendation. To suggest that the decision was influenced by political considerations is an affront to the integrity of the members of the group.

A joint HSE-Department of Health and Children transition group has since been established to advance the development of the new hospital. Among the key items to be addressed are the definition of a high level framework brief for the new hospital and the determination of the scope and location of the urgent care centres. I understand that the group intends to retain outside expertise to assist it in its work.

I recently met representatives from Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children and was informed that the hospital has commissioned its own report on the issues relating to the location of the national paediatric hospital. I understand that the joint transition group received a copy of the report in recent days and that it is being examined. A further meeting with the Crumlin representatives will take place when this process is complete. The decision about the site for the new hospital has now been made and it is essential that all those involved focus on implementing that decision. This is in the best interests of the children of this country.


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