No ideal site for hospital, says Harney


THOSE WHO care about children should give up the campaign to relocate the proposed National Paediatric Hospital, Minister for Health Mary Harney said yesterday.

Ms Harney was responding to an online petition calling for a review of the chosen site on the Mater hospital car park. As reported in Healthplus yesterday, the petition was attracting up to 200 signatures per day.

The “best possible expertise” had been available in choosing the Mater site. “There was no ideal site. It was either going to be James’s hospital or the Mater site. Both of them were centre city locations. So I would appeal to everybody that cares about children – and certainly I am very struck by the parents of sick children who keep saying to me ‘Get on with it, make it happen’ – that is what we are doing,” the Minister said.

At a centenary celebration marking the death of Florence Nightingale, she said the challenge was to respond to reduced budgets with more flexibility, before responding with cuts in services.

She reaffirmed Government commitment to a cystic fibrosis unit at St Vincent’s hospital, Dublin. On prospects for the HSE in the 2011 budget, Ms Harney said “the challenge will be to make sure that work practice changes come first, before we begin to affect services to patients”.