Group to oversee merger of hospitals


NUI Galway president Dr Jim Browne has been appointed to oversee the merging of the State’s three children’s hospitals in advance of the opening of a single national children’s hospital.

Minister for Health James Reilly yesterday announced the creation of a group, to be chaired by Dr Browne, to drive forward the development of the hospital.

The group, which will have its own board, budget and management team, will assume many of the functions of the National Paediatric Development Board, which is being restructured to focus only on the building of the facility.

This change would require legislation, which will come before Government shortly, Dr Reilly told a health conference in Dublin. The new group will include representatives of the existing children’s hospitals at Temple Street, Crumlin and Tallaght, which have welcomed the development.

Dr Reilly said his primary concern was to put in place project management and governance arrangements that would enable the hospital to be built as quickly as possible.

A strategic advisory board is being established to provide external advice to the project.

The Minister promised a patient safety agency, modelled on a similar body in Canada, would be set up “within the year”. He also promised no acute hospital would close as a result of an impending reorganisation of smaller hospitals in the country.

HSE director designate Tony O’Brien told the conference the working hours of junior doctors were no longer acceptable but were required in some cases by the current configuration of services. However, this would change.