A place for new children's hospital

 

Sir, – John Hennessy (Opinion, May 15th) eloquently argues the case for a new children’s hospital. No one can dispute this. He emphasises, correctly, the critical importance of trilocation, that is on-site maternity, adult, and children’s services. Where we disagree is the relative priority of these.

One in four of the sickest children in Ireland, in the ICU in Crumlin, are new-borns, transferred from maternity services. Many, but not all, of these children can be identified before delivery. The critical colocation for these babies is beside an existing maternity hospital.

This means one corridor away from the labour ward.

Most of the proposed sites plan a future maternity hospital, to be funded at an unknown time, by unknown means. Our children deserve a new children’s hospital, beside an existing working maternity hospital, with room to grow, and adequate parking.

The proposed 20-acre site, beside the Coombe hospital, provides all of this, a short walk from a very large adult hospital, St James’s, and has room to redevelop the Coombe too, when resources permit. The three hospitals, the Coombe, James’s and Crumlin, already work very closely together. The local roads will support the extra traffic, and the site is well served by public transport. The site is well studied, and has existing planning permission for a substantial eight-storey building, so there is minimal planning risk.

The Coombe proposal deserves more public consideration, as do our children. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY STAINES,

Prof of Health Systems,

School  of Nursing and Human Sciences,

Dublin City University,

Dublin 9.