Connolly Hospital site 'offers space to develop'

 

A PROPOSAL to locate the national children’s hospital at Blanchardstown would allow for development “well into the future”, its promoters said yesterday.

The plan for Connolly Hospital is among those submitted to a review group on the children’s hospital which is due to send its report to Minister for Health James Reilly by tomorrow.

The group was set up by Dr Reilly after Bord Pleanála rejected plans for a €650 million hospital at the Mater site in Dublin’s north inner city.

The plan unveiled for Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, yesterday would see a co-located children’s hospital on the 150-acre campus to be opened by late 2016.

The proposal is a partnership between Connolly Hospital, the Royal College of Surgeons and Beaumont Hospital.

“It has 150 acres so it is truly a site for the next 200 years,” Trevor Duffy, clinical director at Connolly Hospital, said yesterday.Buildings would be on a greenfield site so there would be no planning issues, Dr Duffy said.

The cost of the hospital would be among the cheapest, he said yesterday. The net building cost of the hospital is €283 million, rising to €424 million when VAT and fees are included.

Dr Duffy highlighted the issue of access. “It has its own sliproad on the M3 and M50 junction, and is easy for people in the greater Dublin area to access.”

The site offered a chance to develop “a real European equivalent medical centre at true level one trauma for children and adults”, he said.

While the hospital would be built on a co-located site, the child and adult facilities would have their own identities, he said.

An academic centre, which would enable the teaching of medical students, is part of the plan.

The capacity of integrating with industry, such as biotechnology, later on was also highlighted by Dr Duffy.

Meanwhile, costings for the new and scaled-back design of the children’s hospital on the Mater site have been revised downwards by a group backing the site.

The partnership, involving the Mater, Temple Street and Rotunda hospitals, said it would cost the State €477 million to build a new children’s hospital at the site.

The backers yesterday described it as “the most cost-effective project under consideration”.

This plan would include a new maternity hospital on the Mater site to replace the Rotunda.

It would also include an ambulatory care centre at Tallaght Hospital providing emergency, outpatient and daycare facilities to sick children.

While the overall project budget would be €582 million, including VAT, the net cost to the exchequer would be €477 million.

The costs would also be off-set by commercial revenue from carparks and restaurants, and by a contribution from the Rotunda with savings from shared services.

The review group, chaired by Frank Dolphin, which was tasked with drawing up an options document, is considering at least 15 options.

It is due to report to Dr Reilly by tomorrow, after which the report will go to Cabinet.