The new paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre, Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Connolly in Blanchardstown, will open tomorrow, Wednesday, 31 July 2019. This is a new, state of the art paediatric outpatient and urgent care facility offering a range of services to children, young people and their families in the local area as well as those in Dublin north city and county, surrounding areas in Kildare and Meath as well as all those who choose to use the services.
The opening of CHI at Connolly in Blanchardstown is a major milestone in the new children’s hospital project, the most significant investment in healthcare ever undertaken by the State. It will have an impact on children, young people, their families and staff for future generations to come. Key elements of the national paediatric model of care for the benefit of patients by bringing fast, convenient, quality care close to their home, as is clinically appropriate will be implemented in this new facility.
The new building on the campus of Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown was handed over in May 2019 by the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) to Children’s Health Ireland for a period of clinical and operational commissioning.
A range of services will be provided at CHI at Connolly in Blanchardstown, including urgent care for the treatment of minor injury and illness that requires prompt treatment but is not life threatening and does not require a visit to the Emergency Department (ED). Children with minor injuries such as fractures, sprains, minor burns, small cuts and illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhoea and mild asthma should all come to the new Centre. The urgent care centre is a walk-in service - no appointment is necessary.
A short stay observation unit will allow for children and young people to be observed and treated by a Consultant for up to six hours before being discharged, with a small number of patients requiring onward referral to one of other children’s hospitals.
Outpatient services will be from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
The Urgent Care Centre will open on a phased basis. This phasing allows us to monitor and review our processes, provide on the job training of staff and above all else, assessing and monitoring patient safety.
The initial hours of opening for the urgent care centre will be 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Hours of opening will be increased as ongoing recruitment is successful and in response to the monitoring of processes. There are recruitment challenges nationally in certain specialties, such as Paediatric Radiology and Paediatric Emergency Medicine. While our recruitment campaign for emergency medicine has been successful there are temporary vacancies in CHI due to maternity and backfill requirements for Paediatric Emergency Medicine posts. CHI is currently running campaigns to increase our Paediatric Radiologists and has solutions in place with our radiologists to ensure x-ray support is in place for services on 31 July 2019.
As the Urgent Care service hours increase, CHI will continue to liaise with all relevant stakeholders and with the general public on the hours, keeping them informed as the service hours expands. Over time the Urgent Care Centre plans to open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm to the public with patients in the centre treated and discharged before midnight.
In addition to the urgent care centre and the outpatient clinics there is also a CSAU (Child Sexual Abuse Assessment and Therapy Unit) and HSE Dental Unit.
CHI at Connolly in Blanchardstown is staffed by specialist paediatric staff including nurses, doctors, health and social care professionals, and includes new staff as well as staff from the three children’s hospitals.
When fully operational, Children’s Health Ireland at Connolly in Blanchardstown is expected to provide 17,000 outpatient appointments (General Paediatrics and Orthopaedic clinics) every year. Currently there are just over 5,000 children on our waiting lists for General Paediatric Outpatient appointments in CHI. It is expected that we will see 500 patients during August 2019 as a result of the additional capacity with the opening of CHI at Connolly which will contribute to significant reductions in General Paediatric OPD waiting lists, an initiative that is welcome to children and families and also our staff.
It is also expected that 25,000 children and young people will visit the Urgent Care Centre every year which should see some reduction in attendances in the EDs in the three Dublin children’s hospitals, as well as, the waiting experiences for our patients and their families, in particular at CHI at Temple Street, because of the location of CHI at Connolly in Blanchardstown.
Minister for Health, Simon Harris commented: “After generations of debate it is great to see we are making progress with the opening of this incredible new facility in Blanchardstown.
“This is the first phase of the new National Children’s Hospital. From today, children and their parents will be available of this state-of-the-art facility. We are transforming paediatric healthcare in this country and today is the first major step on that journey.
“I want to thank all of those who worked so hard to get us to this point. Each of you have played a vital role in ensuring our children get the best of care in the best facilities.”
Ms Eilísh Hardiman, Chief Executive, CHI said: “Delivering better, safer services leading to better healthcare outcomes while also improving the experiences for our children, young people, their families and our staff who are all central to our purpose in opening paediatric services at CHI at Connolly. I would like to thank all the staff involved who are solely motivated to make services better for our patients.”
Dr Ciara Martin, Clinical Director and Paediatric Executive Lead, CHI stated: ”We are now starting to see the investment in children’s healthcare that is long overdue with the opening of this new facility which will mean more outpatients’ appointments for thousands of children in the Irish health system compared to last year. How we deliver care and the surroundings within which they are delivered will also make an incredible difference to the lives of children, young people and their families.”