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Plan to extend and develop Rotunda site

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Rotunda Hospital

Rotunda Hospital

Rotunda Hospital

Plans have nearly been completed for an ambitious development for the Rotunda Hospital.

The iconic hospital is on Parnell Square in the heart of the city and has been looking after generations of Dubliners since 1745.

And the maternity hospital is at an advanced stage in plans to construct additional storeys, according to the Master of the Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith,

"We have had a number of very good meetings with Dublin City Council over the past year or so," Dr Coulter-Smith told the Herald. "Currently we have plans to demolish the existing one storey out-patient building on the west side of the square."

Funding

Dr Coulter-Smith said that the plan is to replace the one storey building with a three or four storey building "depending on funding" with proposals submitted for planning permission in the New Year.

"We are trying to build an extended theatre suite on the first floor, extend the labour ward facilities on the second floor, and then hopefully new post-natal accommodation on the top floor, and with a fair wind behind us, we might also be able to build a cafe on the top floor that would overlook the gardens at the back of the hospital," Dr Coulter-Smith said.

The project will be a multi- million euro one, and would have to go to tender.

"It certainly is of a size that will require go-ahead, not only from the HSE, but also the Department of Finance because it's a significant capital build," he told the Herald.

"We are long past the point where we need to upgrade.

"We are delivering 25 to 30pc more babies than we were in 2006. The population has grown. The demand for obstetrics and gynaecology has increased hugely.

"In a sense we have had a perfect storm over the last couple of years," he added.

"We have had a huge increase in the number of patients presenting for maternity care, we have had an economic crisis, which has resulted in people dropping health insurance and less people attending as fee-paying patients, and that's a really important source of income for the hospital."

Deliveries

The hospital delivers almost 9,000 babies a year, it had three 24-hour periods in December of last year when it delivered 42, 45 and 47 babies.

However, Dr Smith pointed out that the long term ambition of the hospital - which is one of the biggest maternity units in the country - is that it will be sitting alongside, and co-located with an adult hospital that can support all its needs.

"That is still the strategic ambition of the hospital to co-locate with a significant adult hospital partner on the northside of the city," he said.

fdillon@herald.ie


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