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The National Children's Hospital won't be named after a saint, but what should it be called?

The new name has come from a staff suggestion process, but hasn’t been revealed yet.

plans-5 An artist's impression of the new hospital Source: National Children's Hospital

THERE HAS BEEN speculation in recent weeks as to what the new National Children’s Hospital will be called.

In August, Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed the long-awaited hospital will be secular. A name has also been chosen, but hasn’t been publicly revealed yet.

A new body will take over the services of Dublin’s existing three children’s hospitals, integrate their staff and services and run the new hospital, which is currently being built on the campus of St James’s Hospital and due to open around 2021.

Some hospitals are named after a particular person or religious figure, while others are not. There’s Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown in Dublin, which is named after Easter Rising leader James Connolly, for example.

The three existing children’s hospitals in Dublin are Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and the National Children’s Hospital in Tallaght.

Hospitals in Ireland are often named after saints but, as the new hospital will be secular, that won’t happen in this case.

When asked about why some hospitals are named and others are not, a spokesperson for the HSE said the organisation has “no guidelines for the naming of buildings”.

“In general, the selection of the name of a building is initiated at local service level. In the past (pre-HSE) the name of a building used to be approved by the health boards.”

Kathleen Lynn

Sinn Féin has called for the new hospital to be named after Kathleen Lynn. As well as being a Sinn Féin politician, Lynn was a suffragette and doctor who co-founded Saint Ultan’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin in 1919. The hospital closed in the 1980s when it merged with the National Children’s Hospital on Harcourt Street, which in turn was later relocated to Tallaght Hospital.

Lynn, who was from Mayo, was the chief medical officer for the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter Rising.

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Speaking in favour of naming the hospital after Lynn, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said she ”challenged many of the norms in society at the time in relation to women”.

Lynn was also a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI), the first resident doctor in the Eye and Ear Hospital and instrumental in the rollout of the BCG vaccine. She worked at St Ultan’s Hospital until she was in her 80s.

‘A unifying name’

Speaking about what the new hospital will be called, a spokesperson for the Children’s Hospital Group (which comprises the three current hospitals) told the group’s board has “approved a process to engage staff in the three children’s hospitals and across the paediatric units in the regional hospitals, children, parents and the public in a creative process to create our new name”.

The spokesperson said the new name is “unifying” and “consistent with the development of other aspects of the organisation” such as the successful integration of three children’s hospitals and the reconfiguration of paediatric services in Dublin.

While our new name also reflects our vision, missions and values statement, more importantly our new name came from the staff suggestion process. It is also in line with the views and wishes expressed at the different workshops and focus groups held with the Youth Advisory Council, staff, parents and members of the public who use acute paediatric services.

The spokesperson said the name will be announced publicly after staff and key stakeholders have been informed.

Read: Harris announces plans for single body to run ‘secular’ new National Children’s Hospital

Read: Rural TDs say sick children will be left stranded in Dublin traffic if new children’s hospital goes ahead

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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