Development of New Children’s Hospital Moves One Step Closer - October 2007

31st October 2007

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has today, Wednesday, October 31st, issued the High Level Framework Brief for the new Children’s Hospital to the Development Board, paving the way for work to begin on the design of the new facility.

The High Level Framework Brief sets out how a national network of paediatric care could be delivered and how this model could be further developed with the existing paediatric clinicians, hospital management, staff, patients and their families.

It also sets out the possible bed, facility and space requirements for the National Paediatric Hospital to meet the increasing demands for specialist care (tertiary) for the country and general care (secondary) for Dublin. It also demonstrates that a building of the requisite scale can be accommodated on the 6.15 acre site identified on the Mater campus.

The brief will inform the preparation of the Design Brief followed by the Detailed Design of the new hospital.

“We’re now another step closer to the creation of a national network of care for all children that can consistently deliver the best possible results and a world class centre of excellence which will become a destination of choice for the world’s leading paediatric clinicians, educators and researchers,” said the CEO of the HSE, Professor Brendan Drumm.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank the members of the National Paediatric Hospital’s Development Board for their commitment to the new hospital and for giving so generously of their valuable time,” he said.

A National Paediatric Network
The model of care recommended in the Brief places the child at the centre of an integrated and balanced network of high quality services with the National Paediatric Hospital linked to regional and local hospitals, and to primary care and community services, by outreach, telemedicine, joint appointments and staff rotation.

Operating in concert, the network will deliver a comprehensive health and hospital system for children, providing safe care as locally as possible, and clearly defined roles for its local, regional and specialist elements.

Key features of the recommended Model of Care
• Integration of the three children’s hospitals to create a service greater than the sum of its parts;
• Ambulatory and urgent care centres providing local access to care in Dublin;
• A Specialist Centre which promotes the effective use of expertise and resources;
• Flexibility - allowing for future expansion and changes in service models;
• A major academic centre.

According to Mr Ken Schwartz, Healthcare Design Specialist, NBBJ Architecture & Design:
Our studies of the recommended site indicate that the National Paediatric Hospital can be established on that site in a building that is clinically functional, patient and family friendly, a sound partner to other components of the Mater Hospital - an asset to the surrounding community.”

The Brief considered the demand for care that the hospital and the ambulatory care centres would be need to meet. In particular it addresses the question of –

• Hospital Beds
• Bed Types
• Family Friendly Facilities
• Play Areas
• Operating theatres and procedure rooms
• Projected future imaging requirements
• Critical Care Unit
• Education Training and Research
• Hospital Size and Site analysis
• Emergency and Urgent Care

Emergency and Urgent Care

With regard to Emergency and Urgent Care, the Framework Brief has recommended that consideration be given to establishing a network of Ambulatory and Urgent Care Centres (A/UCCs) in Dublin which would be operated and staffed by the National Paediatric Hospital and provide the same quality of care as the main hospital.

They could provide urgent care consultations, outpatient appointments, day surgery, medical evaluation and chemotherapy. Apart from being able to provide services closer to people’s homes, they provide opportunities to link with community and primary care services and develop local expertise. They also provide GPs greater access to diagnostics and enable multi-disciplinary exchange.

Specialist paediatric hospitals worldwide have successfully introduced ambulatory and urgent care to both free­standing children’s hospitals and to adult hospital sites.
The Brief considered a number of potential locations using the following criteria: access and travel times, critical mass, staffing implications and available infrastructure.

In addition to the establishment of an Ambulatory and Urgent Care Centre on the Mater Campus, the Brief has recommended that the first Ambulatory and Urgent Care Centre be developed at Tallaght Hospital. Depending on the level of activity and demand at the Tallaght Centre, it may be followed by another consultant-led centre at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown at a later phase.

Similarly, based on an evaluation of the first, and taking into account the demand and capacity issues, the potential also exists for a further facility at Loughlinstown.

The new National Paediatric Hospital will contain an Emergency Department tailored to meet the specific needs of children.

Many parents who currently access urgent care type services at Tallaght, for example, will be able to continue accessing these services, but will do this via the new Ambulatory Centre – a separate dedicated facility that will be constructed.

Details of the above are available in the Framework Brief and the accompanying Summary document, both of which are available at the links below.

Next Steps

The Brief recommends that the next stages should also include:
• Cross Hospital and speciality engagement
• Development of care pathways and processes
• Workforce Planning
• Development of supporting infrastructure
• Economic and Financial Analysis
• Operational Policies and Accommodation


Consultation during the preparation of the Brief was extensive. It included over 250 one-to-one and group meetings, in addition to a number of written submissions.

It involved engagement with staff and management of the three children’s hospitals, professional organisations, academic partners and interest groups.

A panel of international clinical advisors from children’s hospitals in Toronto, Philadelphia and Manchester also gave generously of their experience during the preparation of the report.

In June the highlights of the framework brief were presented and discussed with representatives of the three tertiary children’s hospitals and other stakeholders at a series of workshops. The international advisors, which included an internationally renowned architectural advisor, participated in person in all of these workshops.


Last updated on: 31 / 10 / 2007