Coombe plan stresses hospital savings


THE COOMBE Women’s and Infants University Hospital has said the new national children’s hospital could be developed more cost-effectively at a site near the South Circular Road in Dublin than at any other location.

It said yesterday that the hospital could be constructed at a cost of €358 million.

The fitting-out of the hospital would cost an estimated additional €60 million, while one part of the suggested site would also have to be purchased.

Supporters of the Coombe plan said its proposal for the national children’s hospital would be cheaper to deliver than the proposals for St James’s Hospital, the Mater site or Phoenix Park racecourse.

It has also suggested that it has received an expression of interest in principle from a sovereign wealth fund about investing in the project if necessary.

The Coombe also said that if a multistorey car park was developed on its proposed site rather than using underground car parking, an estimated €20 million could be saved.

The Coombe has proposed that the national children’s hospital be developed on a 20.5-acre site, which adjoins the hospital.

This would comprise the disused Player Wills factory, the Bailey Wilson scrap metal salvage site next door and the derelict Boys Brigade playing fields, which are now in the ownership of Dublin City Council.

The Coombe has argued that when combined with its existing maternity services and using the nearby St James’s Hospital, the development of the national paediatric hospital on its site could provide an immediate tri-located facility.

Its proposal would not involve the construction of a new maternity hospital at a saving of about €100 million.

The Coombe said that even after the building of a new children’s hospital, 60 per cent of its proposed site would remain free for future developments.

This could possibly include a school for sick children and their siblings, as well as facilities for integrated training, education and research.

It said the land was immediately available and the site was already zoned for a hospital.

The master of the Coombe, Dr Chris Fitzpatrick, said that in relation to land costs on the proposed site, formal consultations with a property developer, Dublin City Council and Nama had taken place.

“Notwithstanding the cost of this site, which has been considerably devalued as a result of the recession, the overall cost of building the national paediatric hospital will remain significantly less than on any other tri-located site,” Dr Fitzpatrick added.