By Gary Culliton.
The heads of the RCSI, NUI Maynooth and DCU — which collectively make up the 3U Partnership — have backed the Connolly Hospital Campus as the “best location” for the new National Children’s Hospital, adding that it had the potential to create a world-class medical research and innovation hub.
“The original McKinsey Report, commissioned by the Government in 2006, considered the Connolly site to be the best site in terms of planning, transport access, parking and by implication, cost,” said the RCSI CEO Prof Cathal Kelly, the President of DCU, Prof Brian MacCraith, and the President of NUI Maynooth, Prof Philip Nolan, in a joint statement.
They added that integration of Beaumont and Connolly Hospitals into a single structure “addresses any concerns” raised about the scope of clinical specialties available. “Together, the hospitals have the broadest range of child-facing specialties, including neurosurgery, transplantation, National Poisons Centre and the National Cochlear Implant Centre.”
The hospital campus must have the capacity to accommodate at least 1,500 medical, nursing and other health-related students annually to train as the next generation of children’s healthcare workers, the group added.
This development on the Connolly Hospital site offered a unique opportunity to develop a world-class medical innovation and research hub, and this type of development could only be realised on the Connolly site, they added.
“We would implore policy makers to consider this potential, in coming to a decision on this major development. This is an era-defining opportunity for Ireland.”
In a separate statement earlier last week, Connolly and Beaumont Hospitals stated that the combined group had 1,142 beds, and key national clinical specialities were provided which already served all of the paediatric hospitals, nationally and in Dublin, according to Prof Trevor Duffy, Clinical Director, Connolly Hospital, Prof Hannah McGee, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI, and Dr Paul Brennan, Clinical Director, Beaumont Hospital.
“There is unanimous agreement that building on a greenfield site is the fastest way to deliver the National Children’s Hospital and is of the order of 25 per cent less costly than building on a tight city centre location,” the group said. “There are no material adverse planning issues or no likelihood of planning delays on the Connolly Health Campus site. This project has the full support of Fingal County Council.”