£60m Tallaght Hospital plans to open in June

 

Tallaght Hospital, the largest health-care project undertaken by the State, will open on June 21st, 1998. The Minister for Health, Mr Cowen, welcomed yesterday's announcement on the 589-bed, £60 million hospital.

It was due to open in January but now, according to chief executive Dr David McCutcheon, patients will be moved from the Meath, Adelaide and National Children's Hospital in June. Those in St Loman's may be transferred earlier.

About 100 patients are likely to be transferred on June 21st. Once Tallaght has opened, 513 beds will become available in the following weeks, Dr McCutcheon said. The hospital would go on emergency call "as soon as we can", he added.

But the 76-bed private wing will not open for another six months. Dr McCutcheon said private patients would be treated at Tallaght Hospital during that time and 76 beds would remain open at one of the older hospitals.

Mr Conal Devine, industrial relations director with the Irish Medical Organisation, said yesterday that it was "very encouraging that they have the confidence that they will be opening on that date. But you have to wonder when you consider that Beaumont Hospital was open for three years before it admitted any patients".

Mr Devine was concerned that the hospital was opening about 10 days before the change-over of about 150 junior doctors. But Dr McCutcheon did not believe this would be a problem. "The advantage is that these are new people coming on to a new site who will not have to move later."

The board decision to open on June 21st was agreed unanimously following extensive discussions between hospital management and the Department of Health. Mrs Rosemary French, chairman of the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating the National Children's Hospital, said she was delighted on behalf of staff and people in the hospital's catchment area.

The hospital will service Tallaght, Clondalkin, Firhouse, Rathfarnham, Terenure, Templeogue, west Wicklow and south Kildare. The acute in-services of St Loman's Hospital will also move to Tallaght.