Monday 21 January 2008

Planning permission sought for private hospital

The Beacon Medical Group will today seek planning permission to build a privately-operated women's, children's and maternity hospital beside the existing Beacon Hospital in Sandyford, Dublin.

The group expects to spend about €160 million on the project if it succeeds in its application. Barring any major delays to planning permission or construction, the hospital could be open in about 2½ years.

While the hospital will be privately-funded, the group has a service level agreement with the HSE and under its tax agreement, it must retain at least 20 per cent of its capacity for HSE patients.

The proposed facility will be able to use the acute, diagnostic and consulting facilities at the adjoining Beacon Hospital.

It will have 120 en suite, inpatient rooms and will have the capacity to deliver up to 3,000 babies per year. There will be a full service neo-natal intensive care unit with 24-hour obstetrician and anaesthesia coverage.

Obstetric services will include six delivery suites, with two dedicated obstetric theatres while gynaecologic services will include two dedicated gynaecologic theatres.

The hospital will employ full time obstetrician-gynaecologists as well as part-time consultants from other hospitals.

The paediatric section will include the full range of speciality services with two dedicated paediatric theatres, a 10-bed neo-natal intensive care unit and an eight-bed paediatric intensive care unit. A spokeswoman for the Beacon Medical Group accepted that a new national children's hospital was being planned but said it was unlikely to be completed within the next five to seven years.

In 2006, the Government announced that a new national children's hospital would be built on the Mater hospital site but the project has been dogged by controversy since then.

The HSE said the new hospital, costing €800 million, would be operating by the end of 2012 but staff at Crumlin and Tallaght children's hospitals have expressed their dissatisfaction at the decision to opt for the city centre site.

The medical director of Beacon Medical Group, Prof Mark Redmond said that Beacon's plans were an opportunity to deliver "outstanding healthcare to women and children" in a state-of the-art facility.

"The hospital will provide the most up-to-date international standard equipment and expertise to ensure the maximum number of patients, both private and public, can benefit from the most outstanding health care available anywhere in the world."

The Irish Times

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