Dublin, 17 November 2022 - Taoiseach plants the 1st of 400 trees destined for the 4 acres of gardens and open spaces planned within the 12-acre grounds of the new children’s hospital.
An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, and the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, visited the new children’s hospital today to view the substantial progress that has been achieved on the project. An Taoiseach and Minister Donnelly visited some of the most progressed areas in the building – including one of the hospital’s 22 operating theatres, the 60-bed critical care unit and an ensuite inpatient room. They also viewed the rooftop helipad which will facilitate rapid, safe transfer in and out for sick children and young people, as well as for adults attending St James’s Hospital.
Following the tour, An Taoiseach, together with Cian Norris (8) Liam Tomney (4) who are service users of Children’s Health Ireland, and Olivia Evans (10) from Kilmainham, planted the first tree on the grounds of the hospital. When landscaping is finished, and as part of the hospital’s sustainability strategy, there will be some 400 trees planted within the four acres of gardens and outdoor spaces across the 12-acre site occupied by the hospital on the campus shared with St James’s Hospital in Dublin 8.
Construction progress has advanced significantly at the hospital in the last 12 months with the oval shape of the in-patient wards now well established on the city’s skyline. The façade of the building is complete and internally the most advanced areas have completed floors, walls and ceilings, and joinery such as nurses’ stations are already fitted. In the 380 single, ensuite inpatient rooms, and the 93-day beds, the bathroom fittings and final finishes are being installed.
Other areas such as the Emergency Department, Imaging, Critical Care and Therapy areas are also progressing at pace. As part of the Paediatric Academic Health Sciences System, the 350-seat lecture theatre has advanced and will be used by up to 2,500 students of undergraduate and post graduate paediatric education, as well as hospital staff, when the hospital is operational. All the complex medical equipment such as MRI’s (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT’s (Computed Topography Scanning) that will to be built into the hospital have also been procured.
There will be 14 outdoor areas and gardens at the new children’s hospital, varying in size from the Rainbow Garden – a roof garden at the centre of the hospital that is the length of Croke Park – to smaller areas such as the internal courtyards which provide areas for play and respite for patients and families attending the Outpatient Department, and ‘floating gardens’ and terraces located on Levels 3 and 4 of the hospital.
All the gardens will have a sensory planting theme and will be therapeutic spaces of respite for children and young people attending the hospital, their families, and staff. The use of gardens and courtyards throughout the hospital maximises the availability of natural light and fresh air, which has the advantage of increasing the sense of wellbeing in internal spaces and reducing the energy consumption of the hospital.
The new children’s hospital project represents an unprecedented and much needed investment in healthcare services for children and young people. It will provide a modern custom-designed environment for clinical staff to deliver the best possible care and treatments, in what will be Ireland’s first public ‘born digital’ hospital. Children’s Health Ireland’s three hospitals at Temple Street, Crumlin and Tallaght will close when the new children’s hospital is operational. All staff and services will be under one roof in a hospital that will play a central role in an integrated network of paediatric services with paediatric units in regional and local hospitals.
Also part of the project are two new paediatric centres which are already opened and fully operational – a Paediatric Outpatient and Urgent Care Centre at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown (July 2019) and a Paediatric Outpatient and Emergency Care Centre at Tallaght University Hospital (November 2021).
Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to see the progress on the new children’s hospital in-person today. This project will transform how paediatric care is delivered in Ireland. The new children’s hospital building is at the heart of this transformation – bringing the acute paediatric hospital services and specialities in Children’s Health Ireland under the one roof for the first time, leading to improved clinical outcomes and a better experience for children, young people and their families. I want to pay tribute to the dedicated staff working in Children’s Health Ireland for their excellent care, and the team at the NPHDB (National Paediatric Hospital Development Board) for its continued oversight and commitment to this project, for a state-of-the-art facility worthy of our children for generations to come.’
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: ‘We are already seeing the benefits of the investment in the new children’s hospital project, with the two new paediatric centres in Tallaght and Connolly helping to reduce waiting times for children, young people and their families. I am impressed with the progress being made both on the construction of the building and also importantly on the preparation on the clinical side in Children’s Health Ireland, where staff from the three current children’s hospitals are working together to prepare for the move to the hospital. We had a good example of that just this week with the opening of the new Neonatal Service in Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin, which – following a recruitment and training of specialised staff – is now ready to transfer into the new hospital as a fully operational service.’
Chair of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB), Fiona Ross, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome the Taoiseach and Minister Donnelly on site today and to show them the progress that has been achieved on the new children’s hospital. As well as bringing all the services provided by the three children’s hospitals under one roof, it will be Ireland’s first digital-first public hospital, and it also has sustainability and infection control firmly embedded in its design. Everyone working on the new project understands how badly needed the hospital is – the NPHDB, Children’s Health Ireland, the main contractor BAM and all of the sub-contractors – and we are all working together to deliver it as soon as possible.’
Chair of the Children’s Health Ireland Board, Professor Jim Browne, said: ‘It is exciting to walk the corridors of the hospital building today and to see the clinical areas coming together and imagine services being delivered here. Children’s Health Ireland staff informed the design of the hospital, and they are now involved in what is the largest transformation and change programme that has ever been undertaken in the healthcare arena in Ireland – or indeed in any public sector – in preparation for physically coming together as one team in the new building. There has never been a better time to be involved in the delivery of paediatric care in Ireland.’
Alasdair Henderson, Executive Director, BAM Ireland, said: ‘As a purpose-led business, we aim to create sustainable infrastructure that meets the needs of society, and the new children’s hospital is an important example of this. The progress being made on this remarkable project is a true testament to all the teams involved working together tirelessly to provide this critical healthcare facility to the children and families of Ireland.’