All acute paediatric services at Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) in Dublin, including the Emergency Department (ED), are to relocate temporarily from midnight on March 27.
According to Children's Health Ireland (CHI), these services will be relocated to its other two children's hospitals - Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin and Temple Street Children's University Hospital, and to its paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.
CHI noted that while children and young people are vulnerable to COVID-19 (coronavirus), the virus appears to be less severe in children compared to adults. This move will therefore "support TUH with additional staff, emergency facilities and bed capacity for adult patients during the COVID-19 pandemic".
"Our preparations for dealing with the increasing number of patients that will need medical support through their COVID-19 illness continue. The additional capacity at the hospital through the temporary relocation of acute paediatric services is very welcome and I would particularly like to thank and acknowledge my paediatric colleagues in this regard," commented TUH chief executive, Lucy Nugent.
CHI reassured patients and their families that the two other children's hospitals in Crumlin and Temple Street remain fully open, including their 24-hour EDs. The urgent care centre at Connolly Hospital remains open between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
"As part of our plan to move together to the new children's hospital in St James's, we have already commenced cross city ways of working, so this temporary transition of services from CHI at Tallaght will be done in a safe, patient-centred manner," CHI emphasised.
According to Dr Ciara Martin, a paediatric emergency medicine consultant and paediatric executive lead at CHI Tallaght, the country is experiencing "a national public health crisis, one we have never seen before".
"It is so important that all of us within the health service take whatever steps are possible to ensure that we direct resources where they are most in need in order to support patients and our colleagues.
"We are all committed to providing the best possible clinical care to those who need it and we believe that by taking these steps, the health system as a whole will be strengthened. These measures are temporary but necessary," she explained.
If your child is seriously ill or you are worried that their life may be at risk, please attend the EDs at Crumlin or Temple Street. Any child who is 16 years of age or older should attend an adult ED service unless directed to a paediatric facility by a specialist team.
If you are worried you or your child have symptoms of COVID-19 or flu, please do not attend an ED or urgent care centre. Stay at home and contact your GP by phone for advice.
For more information on COVID-19, click here.
Discussions on this topic are now closed.