herald

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Reilly under fire as Children's Hospital board facing axe

THE new Children's Hospital has been hit by further delays as the board behind the project is facing the axe.

THE 12 positions on the National Paediatric Board have been empty for almost two months.

Well-placed sources today said work was happening at an "extremely slow and reduced pace" due to the lack of a properly functioning board.

There is just one official -- an acting chief executive -- carrying on the workload that the board has been tasked with. Amid major concerns that a more "efficient set-up" is needed, Dr Reilly is expected to bring in new individuals to drive the project forward.

"Work is being done but at a very slow and reduced pace because there is effectively no board there," a source told the Herald.

The 12 seats on the board have been unfilled since December 5.

A spokesman for the National Paediatric Board said that the body was "waiting direction" from the Government. "There is work going on and the individuals involved have drawn up the next steps that need to take place.

"But we are awaiting direction from the Government on the matter," they explained.

A spokesman for the minister said that proposals will be brought to Government in relation to the governance of the project.

"Following implementation of the governance arrangements as decided, appropriate procedures in respect of board appointments will be followed," they added.

In the meantime, it's now emerged that a major "tussle" has broken out between St James's Hospital and the HSE over the control of the facility's development.

It's understood that both stakeholders are adamant that they should be at the forefront of the management process -- creating a major headache for James Reilly.

This "tussle" is taking place as Dr Reilly works on plans to introduce a new board of directors to work on the completion of the project.

A spokeswoman for the HSE would not comment on the matter, adding that any issues surrounding the "governance" of the project fall under the responsibility of the Health Minister.

"The decision to build the paediatric hospital was taken by central government so this is an issue for the minister and his office."

noconnor@herald.ie

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