Social Democrats Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore has expressed her disappointment at today’s decision to give the go-ahead for the National Children’s Hospital (NCH) at St. James’s Hospital in Dublin city centre.
Whitmore, who has been a long-time critic of St. James’s as a location for the NCH, said “The children and parents of Wicklow will feel the brunt of this decision. St. James’s Hospital will now become Wicklow’s Accident and Emergency Hospital for children. We will no longer have emergency services available to us in Tallaght as it will be downgraded to an Urgent Care Centre, meaning that it will be a non-emergency, daytime facility with 6 observation beds.”
Whitmore continued “All ambulances that are bringing children from Wicklow to hospital will now have to go to St. James’s. This means that they could potentially get caught in city centre traffic on their journey. This is unlike the current situation for transport to Tallaght Hospital, where the hard shoulder on the M50 is available for emergency use, should traffic get heavy.”
“Whilst this may not impact those that are within close range of the city, if you are travelling from, for example, Arklow or south Wicklow, it could mean considerable travelling times when your child is need of emergency care.”
“Whilst I hope that I am proven wrong, I truly believe that this decision is one that we will regret long into the future. Our national children’s hospital is one that should cater for the very sickest children from all over the country, that will have plenty of room for expansion, that is easy to get to, that is a nice environment for those children that spend months in hospital and that is co-located with a world class maternity hospital. In my opinion, St. James’s does not offer any of these things.”