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Kids' hospital review finally announced
[Posted: Thu 12/05/2011 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
Health Minister 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.
The announcement comes as the controversial hospital project received another setback with the resignation of its CEO.
Dr Reilly has announced that initially, a financial analysis will be carried out under the auspices of the European Health Property Network (EUPHN).
John Cooper, an architect with worldwide experience in the area of hospital design and construction, has been nominated by EUPHN to do this exercise.
Secondly, the Minister said, a clinical review will be carried out informed by the financial analysis.
The Minister has said that the financial analysis will take two weeks, following which the clinical review will take a month to complete, and its recommendations will be published within days, indicating that a final decision about the children's hospital will be known within two months.
"Mr Cooper will report and work closely with four international experts drawn from the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and the Children’s Hospitals International Executive Forum (CHIEF)*," the Department of Health said.
All four experts are CEOs of children’s hospitals. Three are paediatric clinicians with extensive experience in the areas of clinical practice and hospital management and the fourth has experience in the organisation and running of children’s hospitals.
The Department said the terms of reference for the financial analysis are to examine and independently verify the estimated cost differentials, identified in relation to building, equipping and running the hospital (a) if constructed on the Mater site and (b) if constructed to the same specification on 'notional' alternative sites.
The clinical review will then be carried out to 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.
It will, according to the Department, submit a final report to the Health Minister, with recommendations on the project within four weeks of the start of the clinical review.
Meanwhile, Eilish Hardiman is quitting the children's hospital development board to take up the post of chief executive of Tallaght Hospital in Dublin.
Ms Hardiman will be taking up the Tallaght post later in the year. It is anticipated that the review will have been completed well before she leaves, the Department of health said.
Commenting on the review, the Minister said it was his intention to ensure the best possible clinical outcomes for children within the resources available.
The Mater project has already seen two successive chairman of its development board resign in the past eight months.
The project has bedevilled by rows over the suitability of its location and by problems in securing the necessary level of private funding to build it.
In March, John Gallagher resigned as chair of the development board, stating he no longer felt he had the mandate to continue with its original remit to build the hospital at the Mater site,
Last October, the previous Chairman of the development board, Philip Lynch, resigned. He had favoured an alternative site near the M50 for the project and later claimed the decision to locate the hospital at the Mater site had been a political one.
*The National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) is a not-for-profit organisation of children's hospitals with 218 members primarily in the United States but also with membership from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico. NACHRI promotes the health and well-being of children and their families through support of children's hospitals and health systems that are committed to excellence in providing health care to children.
The clinical experts carrying out the review are: Dr James Mandell , a paediatric urologist and Chief Executive Officer and Trustee of the Children's Hospital Boston; Dr James Shmerling, Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Hospital at Colorado; Prof. Peter Steer, paediatrician and neonatologist and CEO of Children’s Health Services, Queensland, Australia and Dr Jane Collins, a paediatrician and Chief Executive of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
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