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'Mater best kids' hospital site'
[Posted: Thu 10/03/2011 www.irishhealth.com]
The Mater is the best site for the new children's hospital development, Health Minister James Reilly has been told in a review presented to him today.
John Gallagher, Chairman of the Mater hospital project development board, in a statement, said the review that he has carried out confirms 'on a basis of fact' that the Mater campus is both capable of being and suitable to be the site of the new children's hospital.
The new Government has pledged to review the decision to locate the hospital on the Mater site.
Mr Gallagher said he welcomed such a review as the most appropriate means of addressing and resolving any outstanding issues and any public concerns. He said he welcomed the commitment in the Programme for Government to complete the new national children's hospital in the lifetime of this Government.
"I would emphasise, however, the importance of the review process being completed in a very timely fashion, as any delay at this point will impact on the timeframe and the cost of completing the hospital," he added.
Mr Gallagher said in conducting his review he had brought in a number of relevant external subject matter experts, at no cost to the taxpayer, to challenge all of the bases and assumptions in the project, "something that had not been done up to this point."
He said the Minister and the public needed to be given a clear and unambiguous assessment of fact around the hospital project and that the project was reviewed on such basis 'without reference to vested interests either within or beyond the sector.'
Mr Gallagher said the review also contains a number of recommendations essential to facilitate the timely and cost-effective delivery of the new hospital.
Earlier today, former Chairman of the paediatric hospital development board Philip Lynch claimed that the decision to build the hospital on the Mater site had been a political one.
He told Morning Ireland that as time went by during his chairmanship, it became obvious that the site was not the correct one, and there were difficulties with access and parking.
Mr Lynch said he favoured a site near the M50, between Balbriggan and Leopardstown linked to the Luas trainline.
Referring to the reignited debate about the children's hospital location, his successor, Mr Gallagher said the media debate of the past 36 hours had been unhelpful to achieving a balanced review of the hospital project.
He claimed there was particular confusion and even misinformation around a number of critical facts that underpinned the rationale for the Mater project.
Meanwhile, former HSE CEO Prof Brendan Drumm has also entered the debate, stressing that the decision to locate the hospital at the Mater had not been a political one and reiterating that the Mater site remained the best location for the development.
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