New Connolly paediatric care centre opens – Tallaght to open in 2020

By Mary Dennehy

THE new paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre at Connolly in Blanchardstown opened last week, with Tallaght’s facility due to open in late 2020.

The new centre at Connolly, which is being delivered as part of the new children’s hospital project at St James's, will open on a phased basis – with initial, restricted, opening hours being 10am to 5pm.

Tallaght ambulatory centre 1

Artist’s impression of the Tallaght paediatric centre due to open late 2020

According to Children’s Health Ireland, “over time” the urgent care centre plans to open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm – with all patients in the centre treated and discharged before 12am.

The services provided, which will be replicated at a second paediatric satellite centre at Tallaght, include urgent care for the treatment of minor injury and illness that requires prompt treatment but is not life threatening, and not require a visit to A&E.

Children with minor injuries such as fractures, sprains, minor burns, small cuts and illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhoea and mild asthma should also go to the new centre – with the urgent care centre a walk-in, no appointment facility.

When fully operational, the centre at Connolly is expected to provide 17,000 outpatient appointments (general paediatric and orthopaedic clinics) annually.

Some 25,000 children and young people are also expected to visit the urgent care centre every year, which Children’s Health Ireland believes should see some reduction in attendance in the emergency departments of Dublin’s three children’s hospitals.

While the centre at Connolly was opened to great fanfare, locally in Tallaght the opening has sparked a number of concerns and questions among health campaigners – especially around opening hours.

Connolly urgent care centre 1

Connolly satellite children’s unit

According to Richie O’Reilly, Vice Chair of the Tallaght Hospital Action Group (THAG): “The biggest risk is that we are losing our children’s hospital [here at Tallaght].

“There is a massive reduction in services.

“This clinic wasn’t meant to just be an A&E, and it’s not even a full-time A&E.

“The [opening times] are very important – we’d want it open until at least 10pm at night.

“From what we’ve heard over the last few days, the services and [opening] times are way insufficient to what [Tallaght Hospital’s catchment area] requirements are.”

He added: “Initially we were told that the satellite clinics would cover minor day surgery, but I didn’t hear any mention of that over the last few days.

“Also, we had pushed for overnight beds, even a couple of beds.”

When contacted by The Echo, a spokesperson for Children’s Health Ireland said that opening times for the paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre at Tallaght will be confirmed in advance of its opening.

“Hours of opening will be increased as ongoing recruitment is successful and in response to the monitoring of processes,” the spokesperson added.

The centre at Connolly will provide services to children and young people in its local area of Blanchardstown as well as those living in Dublin north city and north county, and the surrounding areas in Kildare and Meath.

The National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght University Hospital will remain open as normal until the new unit in Tallaght is open. 

Once open, the paediatric centre at Tallaght will cater to Tallaght University Hospital's catchment area. 

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