Reilly announces review of Mater plan


MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly has announced details of an independent review of the project to build the new national children’s hospital on the site of the Mater hospital in Dublin.

A financial analysis will be conducted to examine the estimated cost differentials identified in relation to building, equipping and running the proposed hospital.

It will consider the outcome if the facility is constructed on the site proposed and to the same specification on what are described as “notional” alternative sites.

“It is my intention to ensure the best possible clinical outcomes for children within the resources available. I wish to thank the international experts . . . and I look forward to the delivery of their report in the shortest possible timeframe,” Dr Reilly said.

The financial analysis will be carried out by John Cooper, an architect with experience in hospital design and construction, under the auspices of the European Health Property Network. The network is a collection of European governmental and research organisations responsible for the strategic planning and management of hospitals and health centres.

The financial analysis will inform a subsequent clinical review involving four chief executives of children’s hospitals and representing the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions and the Children’s Hospitals International Executive Forum. This review will examine whether the potential clinical benefits, if any, of locating a children’s hospital beside the adult hospital on the Mater site outweigh any cost differential and any design issues, including access to the hospital.

The project was thought to have received a setback this week with the news that Eilish Hardiman had been offered the position of chief executive of Tallaght hospital. Ms Hardiman was the chief executive officer of the National Paediatric Development Board.

However, a statement from the Department of Health said Ms Hardiman would not be leaving the board until later in the year and it was anticipated that the review will have been completed “well before” she leaves.

The first chairman, Philip Lynch, was forced to resign last October after 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.