Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Questions (156)

John Lahart


156. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the building timeline for the national children's hospital satellite located at Tallaght University Hospital; the services to be provided there; and if helicopter transfer will be available for acute patients. [41406/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Paediatric Outpatients and Urgent Care Centre at Connolly is scheduled to open in 2019 followed by the Centre at Tallaght in 2020 in advance of the opening of the main hospital on the shared campus with St James's Hospital in 2022.

The Centres at Tallaght and Connolly Hospitals are being built with the aim of improving geographic access to urgent care for children in the Greater Dublin Area. The two centres will support primary and community care through the provision of general community and paediatric clinics, including developmental paediatrics, multidisciplinary care for children with chronic stable conditions and other outpatient services.

Each Paediatric Outpatient and Urgent Care Centre will provide consultant-led urgent care, with 4-6 hour observation beds, appropriate diagnostics and secondary outpatient services including rapid access general paediatric clinics as well as child sexual abuse unit examination, observation and therapy rooms. Each centre is projected to deal with 25,000 urgent care and 15,000 outpatient attendances every year.

The centres will provide services and environments of the same quality as those delivered in the new children’s hospital, with staff rotating through the outpatient and urgent care centres and the main hospital.

There will be an elevated helipad at the new children's hospital, which will have direct and rapid access to the critical care, theatre and emergency departments within the hospital. This enhanced direct and rapid access will improve clinical outcomes for the sickest children and young people.

The Air Corps is the primary provider of paediatric helicopter services to the National Ambulance Service. Air Corps helicopters comprising Augusta Westland AW139 can land on a raised landing site or the roof of a building which is designed and certified for such operations. The Irish Coast Guard provides reserve support to the National Ambulance Service, when required, through its Sikorsky S92 search and rescue fleet primarily for search and rescue missions. The Sikorsky S92 helicopters are not licensed to land on helipads and, for access to the St. James's Campus, would land in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham from which patients would be transferred in an ambulance by road, which is current practice.

The majority of patient transfers to the three Dublin children’s hospitals are completed by road. In any major emergency rescue in a rural area, a Sikorsky Helicopter will bring the patient to the nearest regional hospital for stabilisation resulting in an appropriately planned transfer to the new children’s hospital.

In relation to the Deputy's specific query regarding helicopter transfers at Tallaght Hospital, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.