James's could get children's hospital up by 2015


IF A site at Dublin’s St James’s Hospital was chosen as the location for the new national children’s hospital it could be cleared within six months and planning permission could be sought for the development within 22 weeks, the hospital said yesterday.

St James’s, one of several hospitals now vying to be chosen by an expert group as the location for the new hospital, maintains that – subject to planning permission – it could be in place by 2015.

It is proposing a major new research facility, to be known as the Institute of Child and Women’s Health, as part of its bid to secure the hospital on its campus.

It maintained that such a development would be physically linked to, and share core facilities with, its existing Institute of Molecular Medicine and would constitute one of the largest on-site research facilities in Europe.

The St James’s proposal is understood to be based on a nine-storey development located near the Rialto end of its campus.

The hospital said yesterday that, in its submission to the Government’s review group on the national children’s hospital, it had identified 6.3 hectares (15.5 acres) which could accommodate the paediatric facility, a maternity hospital, rooms for parents and space for future expansion.

It estimated that the cost of developing the children’s hospital, as well as a maternity hospital, on the St James’s campus would be €510 million.

The chairman of the medical board at St James’s, Dr John Kennedy, said yesterday it was essential that the national children’s hospital was located at an adult, tertiary-referral teaching hospital alongside a maternity hospital. He said St James’s had a more comprehensive range of existing services on site than the other potential locations.