Press Release

Project Brief for the new children’s hospital approved

Design Team to be appointed shortly

The Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, announced today (Tuesday, 1 July) that the Project Brief for the new children’s hospital has been approved by the HSE, with his consent. The Minister informed Government at the Cabinet meeting today.

“The new children’s hospital is hugely important for children and young people in Ireland and it is a priority for me, for this Government, for the Department of Health and for the HSE. With the approval of the project brief, we can now proceed to the next stage of the project – the appointment of the Design Team and securing planning permission”, he said.

The Project Brief sets out the proposed accommodation including bed numbers, estimates of cost and key milestones. It outlines the key design principles that will be used in order to deliver a world class children’s hospital with the very best in clinical care.

The Minister said, “The project brief is the blueprint for the new children’s hospital. A single tertiary hospital, supported by two satellite centres, means that highly specialised care and treatment for children can be centralised appropriately, for best outcomes. At the same time, the new hospital will allow children to receive care closer to home where possible through local access to urgent and outpatient care at the satellite centres, and through outreach to paediatric units around the country.”

Tony O’Brien, HSE Director-General said: “I am delighted to approve the Project Brief following the Minister’s consent. It combines optimal design and value for money, and provides a sound basis for moving forward to design and planning for this vital new facility.”

Tom Costello, Chair of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board said, “The Development Board is focused on delivering a new children’s hospital that will be one of the finest in the world. Moving into the design stage means we can now begin to realise this vision, drawing on the key design principles laid down in the project brief.”

Dr Jim Browne, Chair of the Children’s Hospital Group, said: “Approval of the Project Brief is a hugely important milestone for this project and, most importantly, for paediatric services. It brings us a critical step closer to integrating services for children, young people and their families into a new children’s hospital and satellite centres, to ultimately improve clinical outcomes.”

Following Project Brief approval, the project will now proceed to the next stage – appointment of a design team and preparation of a planning submission. The Development Board is expected to notify the preferred design team within the coming days.


Notes for Editors

Overview of the new children’s hospital

The new children’s hospital will be co-located with St James’s Hospital on its campus. It will bring together the three existing Dublin paediatric hospitals (Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Children’s University Hospital Temple Street and the National Children’s Hospital, part of Tallaght Hospital) into one entity. This single hospital will provide tertiary and quaternary care for children throughout Ireland. In conjunction with two satellite centres, it will also provide secondary (or less complex) care for children from the Greater Dublin Area. As the nexus of an integrated model of paediatric care throughout Ireland, it will support paediatric acute services nationally through outreach to ensure children are treated as close to home as possible. Transition of services to the new hospital is expected to commence at the end of 2018.

The satellite centres of the new children’s hospital will be built on the campuses of Tallaght and Connolly Hospital. Each centre will provide consultant-delivered urgent care, and secondary outpatient services including rapid access general paediatric clinics. The centres will be under the governance of the new children’s hospital, with staff of the main hospital rotating through the centres. Target date for delivery of the satellite centres is mid-2016.

Project Brief

Approval of the Project Brief will allow the new children’s hospital project to proceed through the next stages of the project development, including the appointment of a Design Team, preparation and completion of design in order to submit a planning application.

The Project Brief sets out the scope, size, estimated cost and programme timelines for the new children’s hospital. It outlines the services, projected activity and capacity that these facilities are intended to provide, and defines the design principles to be achieved by the Design Team. Capacity is planned to include:

  • 384 in-patient beds including 62 critical care beds, all in single en-suite rooms
  • 85 daycare beds
  • 14 theatres in total, including three hybrid theatres to facilitate access to imaging during surgery
  • 111 outpatient consulting examination rooms across both the new children’s hospital and satellite centres
  • ED and urgent care facilities in both the new children’s hospital and satellite centres

All in-patient beds will be in single en-suite rooms, with appropriate in-patient parent accommodation, resulting in reduction of risk associated with hospital acquired infections, as well as increased privacy and an improved hospital experience for children, young people and their families.

The hospital building will include patient-proximate clinical research facilities and some clinical education facilities. In addition, it is intended to develop a separate Research and Education Block incorporating facilities for undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional paediatric education for medical, nursing and health and social care professionals, and an institute for child and adolescent health.

What is tri-location?

Tri-location of adult, paediatric and maternity services on one site brings benefits for children and young people receiving paediatric care, for adolescents transitioning to adult services, for newborns and for mothers. It does so through all three links – paediatric-adult, paediatric-maternity and adult-maternity.

Paediatric-adult co-location ensures that children and young people receiving paediatric care have access to adult specialists who specialise in conditions which are more common in adults. Joint management of these conditions by adult specialists and paediatricians provides better quality care to the children and young people concerned.

There is a significant cohort of young people with conditions more commonly seen in adults. This is particularly true in the area of specialist surgery e.g. ophthalmology, plastic surgery, ENT, neurosurgery, and cardio-thoracic surgery. These cases are better managed by those surgical specialists working across the adult-paediatric age range developing and maintaining their skills through their work in the larger cohort of adult patients and applying that skill and expertise to the care of children with similar problems.

There are medical and surgical conditions in young adults which are more commonly seen by paediatricians. Shared management of these conditions will provide the optimal level of care to those young adults.

A growing number of patients with chronic conditions need to be managed across a “lifespan” from childhood to adulthood. Examples of these are children with congenital and acquired cardiac conditions, cystic fibrosis, chronic skin conditions, epilepsy and diabetes mellitus among others. While as a child they may need to attend the new children’s hospital, development of a structured transition protocol between the children’s hospital and its adult partner on the St James’s Hospital campus will lead to an improvement in the quality of transitional care nationwide.

Maternity-adult co-location provides ready access to adult medical, surgical and intensive care services for mothers in the event of an obstetric emergency. This group of women, often young and previously healthy, can be extremely ill and corridor transfer minimises the risk of destabilisation during external transfer. There are also complex gynaecological conditions which require combined gynaecological, adult surgical and medical management, and co-location will facilitate the delivery of this complex care.

Paediatric-maternity co-location facilitates the centralised multidisciplinary management of infants requiring immediate post-natal access to paediatric surgical intervention or other paediatric subspecialist care. These infants are often delicate and corridor transfer minimises the risk of destabilisation during external transfer. Co-location facilitates co-ordinated planning and allows for the presence of the appropriate specialists at the birth with immediate take-over of care.

In all cases, the benefits of tri-location are maximised where the adult hospital provides the fullest possible range of clinical sub-specialties and expertise. In addition, tri-location that delivers the most significant depth and breadth of clinical and academic research on site will enhance the potential of research to drive best clinical outcomes.

View the Summary of the Project Brief for the new children’s hospital here.