Children’s hospital satellite centre to open on time despite ‘challenges’

Facility at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown will open this summer, authorities say

Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Healthcare authorities have insisted that the first phase of the new national children’s hospital will open on schedule this summer despite there being “challenges” in recruiting medical specialists in some areas.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) had warned that the satellite centre at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown may not come on stream on time due to insufficient numbers of required medical staff being recruited. The Irish Medical Organisation issued a similar warning.

Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) said 13 consultant posts were required and were included in the HSE national service plan for this year to support the opening of the paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre in Blanchardstown. It said 10 of these positions had been filled and recruitment was ongoing for the remaining posts.

“There are recruitment challenges nationally, and internationally, in certain specialities, such as radiology, and this challenge has been shared by CHI, but recruitment is ongoing, and Children’s Health Ireland at Connolly will open in July 2019,” it said.

IHCA vice-president and consultant rheumatologist Laura Durcan had said the planned opening of the facility was “in jeopardy due to the failure to recruit the consultants needed to operate it”.

CHI said all six paediatric emergency medicine consultants required had been appointed and would be in place prior to the opening of the new satellite centre in July.

Minister for Health Simon Harris is due to apologise for not providing fuller information about the cost escalation at the national children’s hospital when he was asked about it last September. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

It said a recruitment campaign was beginning this week for an orthopaedic consultant and it expected this post to be filled prior to the opening of the centre.

A campaign to recruit two consultant radiologists began in December, and interviews would be scheduled shortly, it said.