Press Release

Government strongly backs HSE recommendation on location of new children’s hospital

The Government today (June 8th) strongly endorsed the recommendation of the Board of the Health Service Executive (HSE), in line with the recommendation of the Report of the Task Group established to advise on the optimum location of the new national tertiary paediatric hospital, that the new paediatric hospital be developed as an independent hospital on a site to be made available by the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.

The Government also agreed with the Tánaiste’s proposals to examine the governance issues that will arise in the context of the amalgamation of the three children’s hospitals in Dublin and, in particular, the measures needed to ensure that the new children’s hospital is multi-denominational and pluralist in character.

The Government Decision also mandates the HSE to move forward with the development of the new national tertiary paediatric hospital and associated urgent care centres, and to explore any philantropic proposals in relation to it’s development.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, said: “I am satisfied that the Task Group undertook a rigorous and robust examination of the key issues in making its recommendation that the new children’s hospital be located on a site to be made available by the Mater Hospital.”

“The Task Group engaged in extensive consultations with the three existing paediatric hospitals, the three maternity hospitals, and external experts in arriving at its recommendation, and gave in-depth consideration to the key issues of access, governance, clinical values and site suitability. The recommendation has been made in the best interests of children. Now is the time to move on to develop this project.”

Note for Editors

In late 2005, the Health Service Executive (HSE), at the request of the Tánaiste, undertook a review of tertiary paediatric services. McKinsey & Company were engaged by the HSE to advise on the future strategic organization of tertiary paediatric services in line with best practice and in the best interests of children.

The resulting report – “Children’s Health First” – International best practice in tertiary paediatric services: implications for the strategic organization of tertiary paediatric services in Ireland – was presented to the HSE on 2nd February last. It included a number of key recommendations:

  • The population and projected demands in this country can support only one world class tertiary paediatric hospital
  • It should be in Dublin, and should ideally be co-located with a leading adult academic hospital (i.e. should be within a practical walking distance of such a hospital)
  • It should also provide all the secondary (i.e. less complex) hospital needs of children in the Greater Dublin area.

A joint HSE / Department of Health and Children Task Group was established in February 2006 to advise on the optimum location of the proposed new hospital. The Task Group also included representation from the Office of Public Works.

As a key recommendation of “Children’s Health First” was that the new paediatric facility would ideally be co-located with an adult academic teaching hospital in Dublin, the Task Group invited the following hospitals to make submissions:

  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown
  • Mater Misericordiae Hospital
  • St James’s Hospital
  • St Vincent’s University Hospital
  • The Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating the National Children’s Hospital (Tallaght Hospital)

The Task Group also engaged in extensive consultations with, inter alia, the three existing paediatric hospitals, the three maternity hospitals, and external experts.

Each of the paediatric hospitals expressed strong support for the development of a single paediatric hospital, and emphasized the crucial need for decisions in relation to the new hospital to be taken urgently. Consultant representatives reiterated their commitment to move to the new hospital regardless of its location.

Proposals were also received from a number of private hospitals, property developers and site owners. However, none of the proposals presented by the private interests satisfied the key requirement of co-location with an adult academic teaching hospital.

Following extensive examination, discussion, and consultation among the relevant stakeholders, the Task Group recommended that the new national tertiary paediatric hospital should be built on a site to be made available by the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, subject to the HSE/Department of Health and Children being satisfied that the appropriate governance arrangements are in place for both the development and operational phases and that the Mater is willing to cede ownership of the required site to the State.

The Report of the Task Group was presented to the Board of the HSE on Thursday 1st June. The report and its recommendations were endorsed by the Board.