herald

Friday 20 October 2017

Doctors differ over site for new hospital

CONCERN: Six childcare experts rebel over Mater plans

SIX paediatricians have come out against their representative body over its support for the new national children's hospital site.

The group of professors of paediatrics said they wanted to correct "any public perception" that there is "overall professional support" for the scheme.

The location of the hospital at the Mater site "is opposed by many of those with considerable ... experience of caring for sick children", they said.



Strongly

In a letter, the professors questioned the origins of a press release issued by the Faculty of Paediatrics of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI).

Issued on October 12 last, the statement said the RCPI "strongly supports the proposed new national paediatric hospital".

The six professors -- Edward Guiney, Barry O'Donnell, Ray Fitzgerald, Joe McMenamin, NV O'Donohoe and Conor Ward -- have all voiced their opposition to the press release.

"The projected Mater Hospital site is opposed by many of those with very considerable national and international experience of caring for sick children.

"The manner in which the project has been advanced has not given any opportunity to those who would advocate the merits of a freestanding children's hospital to express their views," the hospital consultants wrote.

However, the Faculty of Paediatrics reiterated its support for the proposed new hospital.

It pointed out the project had been discussed at a number of board meetings and two AGMs over the past four years.

The faculty said there was "overwhelming support" for the proposal at the last AGM on October 8.

Dean of the Faculty, Dr Martin White, said its endorsement of the project followed a presentation by the hospital development board earlier this month.

Dr White said he was confident the majority of paediatrician members of the faculty supported the project.

But in their letter to the Irish Times, the six paediatricians said: "There is evidence of overwhelming concern among the public about the practical problems relating to the Mater site. We reaffirm our support for this opposition."

comurphy@herald.ie

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