Phoenix Children’s Hospital: symbol of hope or ill conceived? Have your say

Name ‘ill conceived’ in context of sick children, clashes with Arizona facility

Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris with children from the Youth Advisory Council as they urned the sod at a new paediatric outpatients and urgent care centre at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris with children from the Youth Advisory Council as they urned the sod at a new paediatric outpatients and urgent care centre at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Doctors in paediatric hospitals in Dublin have expressed concern about the new national children’s hospital being named Phoenix Children’s Hospital Ireland. The name has been announced by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

It is understood that, late last month, doctors at a joint medical board meeting of the three existing paediatric hospitals in Dublin voiced concern at the choice of name for the new facility, which will open in 2022.

One doctor said the name Phoenix was ill conceived for a hospital that would deal with children with very serious conditions, given its association with the idea of rising from the ashes. Doctors were also worried the name would cause confusion with a well-known paediatric centre in Arizona, also called Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“Renewal and regeneration”

The Children’s Hospital Group in Dublin confirmed on Monday that although there had been no formal correspondence from the joint medical board, concerns about the new name had been raised informally.

This infographic was supplied yesterday by a PR firm "detailing the process behind the naming of the Children’s Hospital Group"
This infographic was supplied yesterday by a PR firm "detailing the process behind the naming of the Children’s Hospital Group"

It said the adoption of the name “phoenix” aptly represented the level of renewal and regeneration under way in paediatric healthcare in Ireland today. “It is also a symbol of hope and optimism and positively represents our vision for the future.

“The new children’s hospital will be known as Phoenix Children’s Hospital Ireland. We have registered the trademark for the name here in Ireland giving us the right to use it in any way we see fit. We are of course aware of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, and we have been in touch with our international colleagues to inform them of the fact that Phoenix is the name that has successfully come through our comprehensive naming process.”

Avoiding confusion

The Children’s Hospital Group said that, through engagement with colleagues in the United States, “we both agreed that by working together we can avoid any confusion and can ensure that the great work being done by the medical community within both institutions will be appropriately known and recognised both locally and internationally”.

Mr Harris and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar turned the sod on Monday at a new paediatric outpatient and urgent-care centre at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, which will form one of the new children’s hospital’s satellite centres. The centre will open in 2019. A second facility will open in Tallaght in 2020.

The new name was chosen, after nine months of consultation, by staff at the three children’s hospitals and the Children’s Hospital Group. The new national children’s hospital is under construction on the campus of St James’s Hospital in Dublin. The new facility will replace the existing three Dublin children’s hospitals: Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, in Crumlin; Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, in the city centre; and the National Children’s Hospital, which is part of Tallaght Hospital, in southwest Dublin.