Press Release

Minister Harris publishes the General Scheme of the Children’s Health Bill 2017 to establish a body to run the new children’s hospital

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, today (Tuesday) announced the publication of the General Scheme of the Children’s Health Bill 2017. This will create a single statutory entity to run the new children’s hospital.

The new body will take over the services of the existing three Dublin children’s hospitals, (Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, and the National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght Hospital), and run the new children’s hospital, which is being built on a campus shared with St James’s Hospital, as well as the paediatric outpatient and urgent care centres at Connolly and Tallaght Hospitals.

Minister Harris said “I am delighted to announce today the publication of the General Scheme, approved by Government last month, of the Children’s Health Bill 2017. This is a very important step on the road towards the new children’s hospital and follows the Government decision in April to approve the construction investment for the hospital and associated outpatient and urgent care centres. This new hospital is an extraordinary opportunity to transform paediatric services for children in Ireland by bringing together patients and staff from across the three existing children’s hospitals into a single organisation, which will improve the experience and outcomes for children and their families.”

The Minister said “This Bill provides for the establishment of a single body to govern and manage paediatric services, as well as to facilitate planning for the transition of staff and services to the outpatient and urgent care centres which will open several years ahead of the new children’s hospital opening. It will also support the organisation of the clinical and non-clinical services in an integrated manner across the existing sites before the move to the new hospital.”

As a body corporate established by an Act of the Oireachtas, the new entity will have the powers and functions it needs as the national tertiary paediatric service with the necessary status to take on a leadership role nationally in relation to paediatric healthcare and as an international player in paediatric research and innovation.

Minister Harris said “I very much welcome the support of the three children’s hospital Boards in the decision and the work to establish a legal entity for the new hospital. The preparation of draft legislation has benefitted from the significant input over a long period of time from Seán Sheehan, Turlough O’Sullivan, Liam Dowdall, Frank Magee and Michael Scanlan – the current and former Chairs/Vice Chair of the three children’s hospitals; Dr Jim Browne – Children’s Hospital Group Board Chair; Eilísh Hardiman – Children’s Hospital Group CEO; and Catherine Guy – member of the Children’s Hospital Group Board, through the Children’s Hospital Group Board’s Legal Entity Committee”.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Main provisions of the proposed General Scheme

  • The proposed title of the bill is the Children’s Health Bill 2017. The General Scheme of the bill is available on the Department’s website
  • The existing hospitals, all independent voluntary bodies with a long tradition and commitment to paediatric care, have undertaken to come together in one new entity. Th intention is to create a single entity which will oversee the provision of services in the three children’s hospitals, manage and oversee the work required to effect a positive and safe integration of such services to new premises and govern and manage the new children’s hospital on the campus shared with St James’s Hospital and outpatient and urgent care centres at Connolly and Tallaght Hospitals.
  • The General Scheme consists of ten parts, and will cover establishment, functions and powers, Board matters, employment including role of the CEO, and accountability and standards.
  • The legislation will also provide for the transfer of assets, liabilities, subject to due diligence processes and any potential exposure for the State, as well as transfer of staff and data from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, and the National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght Hospital, to the new body.
  • Functions will include the delivery of health services, research, education, and related functions. Powers will include (inter alia) ownership of land and property, and ability to enter into contracts subject to necessary approvals. (NOTE: The HSE owns the land on the St James’s Hospital campus on which the hospital will be built and will continue to own the land and building once constructed.)
  • There will be a Board of 12 members, including the Chair, with the first Board to comprise the Children’s Hospital Group Board. Thereafter, the Board will be populated on the basis of Board and Ministerial nominees. All Board members will be appointed by the Minister. The Minister will have the power to remove individual Board members or the entire Board in certain circumstances.

Amendment of SI 246/2007: National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (Establishment) Order 2007

  • A secondary element of the legislation involves amendments to the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) (Establishment) Order 2007
  • The NPHDB is a body corporate established in 2007 by Statutory Instrument under the Health (Corporate Bodies) Act, with responsibility for delivering the children’s hospital project. The functions of the NPHDB, as set out in the Establishment Order, include the planning, design, building, furnishing and equipping of a national paediatric hospital and, in addition functions in relation to planning for services, human resources and philanthropy. These additional functions are operational and therefore separate from the capital project itself. It is intended to delete these functions given that they are proper to, and will come under the aegis of, the new children’s hospital body.