Independent TD Mattie McGrath has added his fulsome support to a call by the Chairman of the Jack&Jill Foundation Jonathan Irwin for an immediate review of the Government decision to locate the new Children’s Hospital at St. James Hospital Dublin. Deputy McGrath was speaking as fears grow among groups representing seriously ill children and their families that the decision to proceed with the St. James site option will prove disastrous in terms of accessibility and the strain it will place on those who will have to travel to the city centre site:
“If the decision to locate the new children’s hospital is not immediately suspended pending a consultation with families and groups like the Jack&Jill Foundation then we almost be certain that interests relating to children’s health are not the motivating factors here.
It is another utterly incoherent move that is flying in the face of passionate and informed objections from parents and groups who have decades of experience in this area. What is also staggering about this is that a decision has been made to effectively over rule the recommendations of the Department of Health’s own Review Group on the National Children’s Hospital which are contained in the Dolphin Report.
In that Report the St James option failed to make any kind of persuasive argument bar access to the site by the LUAS. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of parents who would need to travel to the new children’s hospital with their already sick children would have to do so by car or ambulance.
The lack of meaningful consultation with parents and children’s groups in many ways tells us everything we need to know about the criteria against which the merits or otherwise of the new hospital are being assessed.
It is clear from this process that more ‘powerful voices’ are being listened too and the wishes of the parents are being silenced.
I would appeal to the Minister for Health, and his likely successor, to take seriously the concerns of those parents and groups like Jack&Jill who have identified the key limitations of the St James option and who have instead presented world class alternatives like the Blanchardstown proposal.
We have already wasted ten of millions of euro’s on the failed Mater site; let us not do not the same here.
To subject this project to further infighting between vested interests will be to subject the nations sick children to a future marked by a lost opportunity. Surely we can all agree that that is not the kind of legacy we are aspiring too,” concluded Deputy McGrath.