Press Release

Minister Reilly outlines progress to date on the new Children’s Hospital


The Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly TD today (6 November 2013) outlined progress to date on the new Children’s Hospital.

The Minister said:

“Today marks the first anniversary of the Government’s decision to locate the new children’s hospital in Dublin 8, co-located with St. James’s Hospital on its campus”.

“The building of this hospital is a government priority and capital funding has been set aside for its delivery. This flagship project will serve generations of Irish children. No effort will be spared in expediting its completion”.

“The three existing paediatric hospitals in Dublin – Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Children’s University Hospital Temple Street, and the paediatric service at Tallaght Hospital – have welcomed this move. By merging the three Dublin children’s hospitals into a single large facility and co-locating with a major adult teaching hospital, the new children’s hospital will operate like other leading children’s hospitals across the world – critical mass combined with adult co-location”.

“The Government has restructured the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board to enable it to focus on a single function – building the new hospital. I look forward to seeing them progressing this exciting project”.

Progress on People and Structures

  • Appointment of Children’s Hospital Group Board (CHGB – the client): In December 2012, the Department of Health began discussions with the three children’s hospitals on the establishment of the CHGB, in the context of the overall policy on Hospital Groups. In April 2013, Dr. Jim Browne was appointed as Chair of the CHGB, and in August a further nine members were appointed. The Chairs of the three existing paediatric hospitals are members of this Board which will oversee the operational integration of the three hospitals in advance of the move to the new children’s hospital – this is critically important for the effective functioning of the new hospital. As client for the building project, the CHGB will also play a key role in ensuring the new hospital is optimally designed and completed as swiftly as possible.
  • Appointment of the National Paediatric Development Board (NPHDB – the builder’s board): In August, the Minister appointed Mr. Tom Costello as Chair of the NPHDB which is the body responsible for building the hospital. Twelve board members were also appointed. These appointments ensure not only stakeholder and clinical involvement but also, critically, that the Board has the necessary architecture, planning, engineering and procurement experience and expertise to guide this very large-scale and complex project to completion.
  • Additional Funding: In October, the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform announced that up to €200m would be made available for the new Children’s Hospital from the sale of the National Lottery, adding to the exiting €450m Exchequer funding. The level of funding now in place underlines the Government’s commitment to this priority project.
  • Programme Director, NPHDB: The Programme Director post for the NPHDB isbeing recruited via open competition. The post was advertised via the Public Appointments Service (PAS) with closing date of 24th October and PAS is now proceeding to shortlisting/interview stages. The Programme Director will lead the project and be responsible directly to the NPHDB for the project.
  • Joint Induction Day for the CHGB and the NPHDB: In October a joint induction day was held for the CHGB and the NPHDB. The day was jointly chaired by the Chairmen of the CHGB and the NPHDB and was a great success. Its purpose was to brief the board members on the background to the initiative and to discuss how best they can work together in their respective roles to progress the project. The two Boards are working closely together to deliver the new children’s hospital as quickly and optimally as possible.
  • Appointment of CEO of the Children’s Hospital Group: In November, Ms. Eilísh Hardiman took up post as CEO of the Children’s Hospital Group. The role of CEO of the Children’s Hospital Group is critically important in driving forward the integration of the three hospitals, and the project as a whole.

Progress on Capital Project

  • Approval of Design Brief: The CHGB, while very conscious of the major challenge it has in terms of developing a ‘virtual hospital’, has decided to focus short term on their input to the sign off of the design brief for the hospital in order to ensure that the design and build of the hospital can progress as quickly as possible.
  • Review of Urgent Care Centre(s): Work on the review of urgent care centre configuration is at an advanced stage. The Department of Health has held detailed consultations with the Medical Director of the NPHDB, the CEO of the CHGB and the HSE National Paediatric and National Neonatal Programme Leads in this regard and the Minister intends to bring proposals in this regard to Government shortly. Such urgent care centre(s) will be built and established well in advance of the main hospital opening
  • Design Team Procurement: Procurement of a design team is underway. On its appointment, the NPHDB revised the approach to selection of the design team based on their experience and expertise, to ensure that the procurement process attracts the best designers nationally and internationally.
  • Shared Services: A Shared Services Group is focused on finalising decisions around sharing of facilities between the adult and children’s hospitals on the St. James’s campus, so as to optimise the build.
  • Site Decant: In parallel with the finalisation of the design brief and design team procurement, work on the critical site preparation phase is ongoing. A Decant Project Office has been established on the campus of St. James’s and a comprehensive decant plan including the various options, time implications and costs is now being finalised.

Planning Permission: Also in parallel, pre-application planning discussions have commenced. While the immediate priority is the building of the new Children’s Hospital, Minister Reilly and this Government are committed to tri-location with a maternity hospital on the St. James’s campus. Hence as part of the planning application process, an Environmental Impact Statement will be undertaken for the new children’s hospital and will address the potential cumulative impacts of developing both new hospitals (and other proposed developments) on the St. James’s Hospital campus. The aim is to secure planning permission by December 2014, with construction to begin in Spring 2015. The decision to choose the St James’s site from among the range of options presented in the Dolphin report ensures that the planned co-location with an adult hospital and, ultimately, tri-location with a maternity hospital, will be delivered.


Note for Editors re Design Team Appointment

A priority now for the NPHDB is the procurement of a new design team. As part of its work the Board in conjunction with the Department for Health and other key stakeholders has reviewed the original approach to the selection of the Design Team. Based on the the scale and importance of the project, the changing market conditions in the construction industry and the need to ensure greater flexibility in relation to the future procurement of contractors and suppliers the Board has now decided to select a design team to deliver the full design service from start to project completion. A previous process for pre-qualification of design team members had commenced in July on the basis that they would deliver an exemplar design with design development being completed thereafter by a new Design Team appointed on behalf of the successful Building Contractor. The Board is confident that this new approach will attract the best designers nationally and internationally and it will not delay the overall completion of the Hospital as the time will be recovered at Contractor Tender stage when Contractors will now be supplied with completed Design rather than ‘Exemplar” design as previously planned.