Paediatric hospital board to lose CEO

 

THE NATIONAL paediatric hospital project received another setback yesterday with the appointment of Eilish Hardiman as chief executive of Tallaght Hospital. Ms Hardiman is the chief executive officer of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board.

The board, which was set up to oversee the development of the State’s new national children’s hospital, has lost two chairmen within a six-month period.

The decision to locate the hospital on the campus of the Mater hospital has been dogged by controversy. The first chairman, Philip Lynch, was forced to resign last October after the then minister for health, Mary Harney, heard he was questioning the site’s suitability for the €650 million development.

Subsequently, John Gallagher resigned as board chairman, saying he no longer felt he had the mandate to continue with his original remit to build the hospital at the Mater site. His decision followed a statement from Minister for Health James Reilly confirming he was considering a review of the project.

At the weekend Dr Reilly said he expected to shortly announce a team to conduct the review of the decision to locate the hospital at the Mater. He said he had met with “several world-leading clinicians and managers of paediatric hospitals throughout the world including America, England and Australia” and was quite confident he would be able to “get the right sort of people with clean hands, with no previous involvement” in the project to review the decision.

Dr Reilly has stressed the programme for government contains a commitment to build the hospital.

“I want to make sure that this happens in the most cost-effective way that is to the maximum benefit of patients,” he said. Some €29.3 million has already been spent on designing the hospital which is due to be built by 2015.

A qualified nurse with a primary degree from the University of Ulster, Ms Hardiman is a former deputy chief executive and director of nursing at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.