Press Release

An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny TD is joined by Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris TD and members of the Youth Advisory Council to cast the foundation stone for the new children’s hospital

An Taoiseach’s handprint, together with those from current and former users of the children’s hospital services, will be incorporated into the foundations of the new children’s hospital

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, together with Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and members of the Youth Advisory Council, cast the foundation stone for the new children’s hospital today. The children, current and former users of the children’s hospital services, and the Taoiseach embedded their hands into a mould which will be cast in cement and incorporated into the new hospital.  

This milestone event follows the recent approval by Government of the investment required to enable the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board to award the construction contracts for the building of the main children’s hospital on the St James’s Hospital campus and the two Paediatric Outpatients and Urgent Care Centres on the Tallaght and Connolly Hospitals campuses.  The installation of the foundations is expected within a matter of weeks.

The children at the photocall today were representatives of the Youth Advisory Council – a group of young people who are current and former users of the three existing  hospitals.  They have spent many hours talking to the team designing the new children’s hospital.  They have been involved in every step of the project, helping to inform the design and suggesting the inclusion of facilities and features that would help children and their families who stay in hospital for long periods of time.

An Taoiseach spoke about the significance of this major capital investment project: “The children’s hospital is one of the most exciting public capital projects that this country has ever embarked on. We are finally here, with the foundation stone cast, and ready to build the world class paediatric hospital that our children need and deserve.  We all want the best for children, who after all represent nearly a quarter of our population and the future of this nation, and for their families.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD said: “The new children’s 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.  In time the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital will relocate to the St James’s campus, achieving tri-location of adult, paediatric and maternity services, and creating a campus of unrivalled clinical expertise to support the delivery of highly specialist health services, research, innovation and education.”

The Youth Advisory Council said, “We are delighted to be joining Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Health Simon Harris today in capturing all our handprints in the foundation stone which will be on display in the new children’s hospital for future generations. The Youth Advisory Council will continue to work with the Children’s Hospital Group Board in the months and years ahead in designing the services that will be provided.”

Speaking at today’s event, Chairman of the Children’s Hospital Group Board, Dr. Jim Browne spoke about the role that the Taoiseach has played in ensuring that Ireland finally gets the hospital that it badly needs and deserves.

Dr. Browne outlined the Taoiseach’s consistent prioritisation of children’s rights: “We are eternally grateful for the conviction of the Taoiseach which has led us to where we are today. It is fitting that his handprint – together with the handprints of children –  is embedded in the foundation stone and that it will be there visible for all to see for generations to come when the hospital is fully operational. His mark will forever be on this building – and will positively impact the lives of children and their families now and in the future.  I would also like to acknowledge the role of Minister Simon Harris who has championed this project since his appointment in the Department of Health and has worked tirelessly to make today a reality.”

Tom Costello, Chair of the NPHDB said: “The development team and our colleagues in the Children’s Hospital Group are proud and privileged to be working on this important project.  This is not just a building. This is about the healthcare of infants, children and young people today, and the health of their children and grandchildren in decades to come.

“Collectively, we are building a hospital which will enable heroic work to be performed.  It will house some of the most exciting and advanced research in the world; it will provide comfort to families going through difficult days and it will provide a light filled and positive environment for the wonderful staff of the children’s hospitals to continue to do amazing work. This project is about the children.”

An Taoiseach and the Minister for Health today visited the site of the new children’s hospital on a campus shared with St. James’s. As the enabling works conclude, the 12 acre site is clear and ready for commencement of construction.  An Taoiseach, together with Minister Harris and Minister Byrne viewed the extensive area that will soon be built upon and were given an update on the construction programme.


**Photos will be circulated to desks**

1. About the new children’s hospital
The new children’s hospital will provide specialist care for Ireland’s sickest children. It will also replace the hospitals of Crumlin and Temple Street as the local hospital for children who live in the city and within the M50vDay-to-day (secondary paediatric care and urgent care) hospital needs of children from the Greater Dublin Area (County Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow) will be catered for in the new Satellite Centres (at Tallaght Hospital and Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown) where consultant-led emergency care will be delivered.

St James’s Hospital is Ireland’s largest and leading adult teaching and research-intensive hospital and has the 39 clinical specialties and national services in the acute adult hospital system. It also has the widest range of adult sub-specialties that can support paediatric services, ensuring patients with conditions whose prevalence does not warrant paediatric-only consultants, get the best support. There are many specialists that work between both adult and children’s hospitals already and this is likely to increase once the new children’s hospital opens.

The St. James’s Hospital Campus is approx. 50 acres – equivalent to 25 soccer pitches with 12 acres dedicated to the new children’s hospital – equivalent to 6 soccer pitches.
It will be the size of Dundrum Town Shopping Centre with an internal street the length of Grafton Street.

As is best practice internationally from a clinic perspective the hospital will be tri-located with an adult teaching hospital, St James Hospital and in time with the relocated Coombe and Infants maternity hospital.  This will also create a centre of medical expertise to support research, innovation and education.

2. Scheduled opening of the hospital and Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres
Clearance and enabling works are complete on the St James’s Hospital campus, making way for construction to begin on site within the next few weeks.  It is anticipated that the new children’s hospital will open its doors in Q3 2021. The Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres at Connolly Hospital and Tallaght Hospital, which will provide Urgent Care and Outpatient Care to children in the Greater Dublin Area, including Co. Dublin, Wicklow, Meath and Kildare, will open before the main hospital, in late 2018 and Q1 2019.

3. Capacity and accommodation
The buildings have been designed to ensure that children and young people are treated in the best organised and most clinically suitable setting. In the main hospital at St James’s, there will be 380 single rooms all with en-suite bathrooms and a parent’s bed. There will be 93 daycare bays, 22 operating theatres and procedure rooms, and 122 consulting rooms in total. The rooftop rainbow garden is a central feature of the design and it will provide a secure and sheltered environment adjacent to the wards.  The planned accommodation will include facilities for inpatients, day care patients, outpatients, operating theatres and emergency care. The elements of the hospital will include:

•        Outpatients, daycare, theatre, emergency department and critical care units
•        Laboratory, medical imaging and diagnostic services
•        Specialist therapy and play facilities
•        Age-appropriate facilities for children and young people
•        Hospital school
•        Reception, concourse and public realm including retail spaces in the main atrium
•        Operational communication links into the adult hospital and maternity hospital
•        Education, training, research and innovation facilities
•        Underground carparking

Inpatient accommodation (all single rooms, en-suite, in-room parent accommodation)
•        300 generic inpatient rooms
•        60 critical care inpatient rooms incorporating paediatric intensive care/high dependency and neonatology intensive care/high dependency
•        20 child and adolescent mental health beds (incorporating eating disorders and acute Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS))

Day care facilities
•        61 general medical and surgical day care bays
•        4 nephrology/urology day care bays
•        22 haematology/oncology day care bays
•        6 cardiology day care bays

Operating theatres and procedure rooms
•        12 general theatres
•        6 specialist theatres
•        1 PIR suite
•        2 endoscopy rooms
•        1 catheterisation laboratory

•        110 outpatient consulting/examination rooms at the main hospital
•        12 outpatient consulting/examination rooms at the Outpatient and Urgent Care centres (six in each)

Emergency Facilities
ED and urgent care facilities will be provided at the main hospital, with urgent care facilities at the Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres also. There will be 24 short stay observation beds across the hospital and Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres (6 in each Outpatient and Urgent Care centre and 12 in the main hospital), and 56 assessment bays (10 in each Outpatient and Urgent Care centre, and 36 in the main hospital).

Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres at Tallaght and Connolly Hospitals
The Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres will improve geographic access to urgent care for children in the Greater Dublin Area. Consultant-led urgent care, with 4-6 hour observation beds, appropriate diagnostics and secondary outpatient services including rapid access general paediatric clinics as well as child sexual abuse unit examination, observation and therapy rooms will be provided in the Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres. The centre at Connolly will also include two HSE paediatric care primary care dental services operating theatres.

4. Children’s Research and Innovation Centre
More than a hospital, the new children’s hospital and Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres will be a research-intensive academic healthcare institution.  Excellence in modern paediatric practice cannot be achieved without an embedded culture of, and focus on, research, education and innovation. To deliver this vision, the main facilities for research and innovation will be located at the Children’s Research and Innovation Centre (CRIC) on the St James’s campus, which has a rich history in clinical research. Clinical management and research staff at the new children’s hospital will be able to study, evaluate, and improve the healthcare services provided to children and young people in Ireland.  The CRIC on the campus will be non-Exchequer funded and will be built using separately raised philanthropic funds.

5. Integration Programme
The capital project to build the new children’s hospital and Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres will only provide buildings. The overall programme to deliver the new children’s hospital will entail both a complex merger of three different voluntary hospitals and a new build (in addition to a major ICT programme and co-location with an adult and the tri-located maternity hospital).  Integration of the three existing paediatric hospitals, the opening of the Outpatient and Urgent Care Centres and the transfer of services to the new hospital facilities while maintaining existing services, patient safety and quality at three existing sites until transition is complete represent a highly complex project in its own right. The major programme of work of clinical integration, people and change management and commissioning required to achieve a successful transition to the new facilities is already underway.

6. Economic and social benefits
There are significant economic and social benefits to be gained from the new children’s hospital development for the Dublin 8 community, both during the construction phase, and afterwards when the hospital is operational.        The An Bord Pleanála Inspector’s Report 2016 concluded that there was no doubt in relation to the significant urban regeneration potential arising from the development and the Inspector noted the NPHDB’s commitment to community gain.