New maternity hospital to offer better care for mothers and babies, says Reilly

Purpose-built hospital at Elm Park will accommodate up to 10,000 births a year

The National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street is to be relocated to the Saint Vincent's Hospital campus at Elm Park, the Minister for Health James Reilly announced this afternoon.

Some €150m has been provided in the HSE Capital budget, but the full cost is not yet being disclosed because of commercial sensitivity connected with the tendering process.

The new purpose-built hospital will have the capacity to accommodate up to 10,000 births a year. Accommodation at the new hospital will include a high dependency unit, a neo-natal intensive care unit and a special care baby unit . Ante- and post-natal care will be provided in mostly single, en-suite rooms. Birthing accommodation will include operating theatres, birthing rooms, including those for multiple births, and a midwife-led birthing unit.

Making the announcement at Holles Street this afternoon Mr Reilly said the project heralded “a new and exciting chapter in maternity care for women and infants in Ireland”.


"Mothers and babies have been assured of a quality service in Holles Street down through the years," he said.
"Now they can be assured of the same service in a state-of-the-art, custom-built, modern health care facility, providing care to international standards in the most appropriate surroundings and with access to the facilities and staff of a major acute hospital; in short — the best care in the best environment."

He added: “Staff at NMH have worked very hard in difficult circumstances for some time now.

“This project signals a clear desire to provide the best possible services to women and their families. It also demonstrates clear support for the staff who serve our families.”

Dr Rhona Mahony, master of the NMH Holles Street, said the current building is "no longer fit for purpose". She said a new facility was urgently needed.

"The relocation of NMH will address this need and will achieve our strategic aim of close location with St Vincent's University Hospital. We look forward to working with the Minister, the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and St Vincent's University Hospital to make this vision a reality."

Over the past twenty years the number of babies delivered at NMH has increased by almost 50 per cent. The hospital’s primary services are obstetric, gynaecology and neonatology. It is a national tertiary referral centre for many specialities/sub specialities in these areas – in particular foetal medicine and neonatology. It is one of the primary participants in the National Neonatal Transport service and is also a main centre for services provided under the National Cancer Screening Service.

Parts of the existing Holles Street buildings date back to the mid-1700s. In the mid-1930s, the original houses were demolished when the main hospital building was constructed with sweepstakes funds. The most recent major extension is the 1960s wing added to the core building space along Holles Street.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist