Site for new children's hospital

 

Madam, – Maurice Neligan states that the National Paediatric Hospital should be about “the little problems”, ie the sick children and what was best for them (HEALTHplus, July 27th).

I could not agree more. I am the father of two of the children he speaks of and believe absolutely the new hospital will be a world-class facility and a huge step forward for sick children in Ireland.

I am also chairman of the NCHG (New Crumlin Hospital Group), a lobby group formed in 2002 to seek a new children’s hospital to replace the seriously outdated one that exists in Crumlin. Today we are finally seeing this come to fruition. We believe that the last thing our sick children need is opposition from the medical establishment to the building of this new hospital.

The McKinsey report, commissioned to assess paediatric healthcare in Ireland, clearly states that we should have one children’s hospital for the size of our population. This ensures that doctors gain the expertise needed to give the best treatment to sick children. With this in mind how could we justify doing a patch job on Crumlin or indeed on any of our children’s hospitals when expert advice says we should have only one?

Dr Neligan speaks of the state of our economy and suggests a more modest investment in Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin until the “sun shines again”. Through years of inaction our children have been put at risk, how long more can we be expected to wait? The NCHG retained Dr Ronnie Pollock, the internationally renowned healthcare planner, to examine the proposed site to advise on size and suitability etc. When asked “Can the new hospital on the proposed Mater site provide the international standard of excellence in tertiary healthcare for our children?” Dr Pollock responded: “Yes, it most certainly can.”

He agreed with McKinsey that the co-location with an adult teaching hospital was paramount in the treatment of sick children. Of the 25 leading international hospitals examined by McKinsey worldwide, 23 were co-located with an adult teaching hospital. He also advised that by not proceeding with the proposed hospital, we might set back paediatric healthcare in Ireland by 30 years.

As a parent, I am not prepared to stand by while children are put at risk by inadequate facilities and bickering among the vested interests about the location of the hospital. The only interested parties for me are my children.

With regard to his last proposal of devolving to interested parties the building and running of the facility, how long does he imagine that would take? How long do we have to wait for our children’s healthcare to be taken seriously? – Yours etc,

LOUIS RODEN,

Chairman, NCHG

Appian Way, Dublin 6.