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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 19 February, 2019
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Opinion: St James’s is the "best site" for the children’s hospital? It's a complete farce.

Our son has profound disabilities and we sometimes have to visit hospital several times a week. St James’s is a totally unsuitable site for multiple reasons.

Anonymous

AS PARENTS OF a child with profound disabilities we find ourselves in hospital on a weekly basis. We have been known to frequent the hospital for 13 appointments in one week.

Our son struggles with car journeys. He is blind and finds it frightening. This causes seizures and a horribly stressful situation for any car journey.

Travelling from north Kildare and trying to get into St James’s Hospital in rush hour traffic will be a complete farce for us. I can’t even contemplate or imagine sitting at the traffic lights (there must be over 15 sets between the M50 and St James’s) and trying to soothe him.

Have they considered emergency situations? Are we to wait at every set of lights while buses in 24 hour bus lanes (for a 24 hour bus service that we don’t have!) zip by us? From the M50 the only approach is through Inchicore, which is already a massive bottleneck with the huge onslaught of the entire N7 being squashed through there to get to the city centre.

Social issues

Have they considered the area and its social issues? Often I am left on my own in hospital with our son. Both my husband and I work full time and so we negotiate nights with each other. I must admit I would find it frightening staying here based on what I see on a daily basis in the Red Line (I have witnessed men beating women, an attempted stabbing, racist incidents, drug dealing and begging). The St James’s stop itself is one of the worst affected by drugs. Groups of homeless people often sit at the stop, so out of it they can’t move. They just lie there.

It’s worse during the day as there are fewer business and professional people around, and so these issues are more pronounced.

From the perspective of a hospital experience, if you are in for several days or weeks you need relief with fresh air and greenery. This is not possible in this environment. Can we take a long term or terminally ill children out in their wheel chairs around St James’s?

Adult patient hospitals

As for our experience of adult patient hospitals while attending the children’s hospital in Tallaght, it is clear the two should not be together. The nature of adult patients and their visitors are not appropriate for children. Prisoners have had to be restrained in front of children at Tallaght. Grown men and women who are very, very ill are often seen by children in various forms of undress.

There are mentally ill adults and adults with addiction. Machinery is often shared when not appropriate and scheduling is ill prioritised. Adult patients and their visitors smoke a huge amount. It’s everywhere in the hospital in Tallaght.

It’s frightening that none of the above has been considered.

Written by a concerned mum (via The Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation)

It’s go: The new Children’s Hospital moves one step closer to getting built

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