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History

The Children's Hospital was founded in 1872 in a house at 9 Upper Buckingham Street by a group of charitable people led by a Mrs. Eileen Woodlock. The hospital commenced with eight beds and in the first year of operation there were 104 patients admitted and a further 1,768 seen in the out-patients department. There was a steady increase in activity in the first years prompting the governing committee in 1876 to invite The Irish Sisters of Charity to take over the complete running of the hospital. On 2nd. July 1876 the order took over the hospital with four sisters initially.

In May 1879 the lease on 9 Upper Buckingham Street expired and it became necessary to seek alternative accommodation. A bequest from a Mrs. Simpson enabled the sisters to purchase 15 Upper Temple Street, the formerly residence of the Earl of Belamont for ,2,500 and on 17th. June 1879, the new hospital was formally opened with 21 beds. Over the following years adjoining houses were purchased including no. 14, the residence of the Parnell family while in 1884/85 the chapel was built. By 1886 there were 70 beds in use and solid medical foundations were laid by two eminent physicians, Dr. John McVeagh and Dr. Thomas More Madden.

The hospital soon established a role in training of sick children's nurses with recognition in 1885 and the opening of a training school in 1893. In 1898 there were 90 beds in use and in the early years of this century further property was acquired. A new operating theatre was opened in 1904 and was continuously upgraded over the years until replaced in 1981. 1908, Lady Martin bequeathed her house and land at Cappagh to The Irish Sisters of Charity and the order decided to fill a long felt need as a convalescent home for The Children's Hospital. It continued in use until 1924 when it became St. Mary's Orthopaedic Hospital which it has continued up to this day. By 1911 there were five physicians and four surgeons on the staff and what is now the surgical out-patients was opened on 3rd. February 1915.

The 1920's saw the dawning of the newly independent state but it was not until the early 1930s before the further development of The Children's Hospital commenced with the inauguration of the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake. Extensive adaptation of the old Georgian buildings took place, St. Patrick's Dietetic Ward was opened and a dietician trained in Vienna employed. The Physiotherapy Department, a new X-Ray Department, the Milk Kitchen and a new Plaster Theatre were all built during the 1930s. On 8th. December 1939 the St. Michael's block was blessed and formally opened. Going back to 1937, the three houses between the hospital and St. George's Church were acquired and in the early 1950s St. Joan's Nurses Home was erected on the site.

The years of the Second World War brought a halt to further expansion and were difficult years for the hospital with shortages of many important supplies. However with the war ended expansion resumed and another storey was added to the St. Michael's block to give the hospital a 25 bed neonatal unit. The sorely felt loss of the convalescent facilities at Cappagh was made up in 1946 when a Georgian house and land off Merino Road was purchased to become St. Anthony's Hospital. Between 1954-56 a two storey purpose built 56 bed ward block was built there.

The tremendous post war expansion in medical knowledge brought many changes as indeed changes in the relationship between the health service and the state. All these were successfully met and the 1960s dawned with further developments in prospect. In 1959 the work of St. France's Clinic commenced in the field of Child Psychiatry, Psychology, Hearing and Speech and in 1965 a new purpose built St. France's Clinic was opened. In 1964 a new Assembly Hall was opened. However, possibly the most significant development of that period was the inauguration of the national new-born screening programme for a number of inherited conditions. This arose out of pioneering work already underway in the hospital in the treatment of children with this condition. This work has expanded to become the national centre for the screening of treatment of these conditions with its special laboratories and dedicated ward and OPD unit.

The assistance of the Variety Club of Ireland enabled the present X-Ray department (1971) and Clinical Laboratories (1977) to be built and finally in 1981 with Variety Club and Department of Health Funding, the opening of the new Theatre Suite of three modern theatres.

With the future development of the hospital in mind, a policy of acquiring adjacent properties was put in hand in the 1960s and subsequently in conjunction with the hospital's architects, proposal formulated for the redevelopment of the hospital. The need for redevelopment was finally accepted by the Department of Health and on 29 April 1982 the Project Team met for the first time. Their Planning Brief was published on 22 May 1984 and accepted by the Department. This envisaged the staged redevelopment of the site which would result in virtually a new purpose built paediatric hospital. Unfortunately, the severe cutbacks in the health service of 1987 resulted in the suspension and subsequent abandonment of this plan. In 1988, following a reassessment of the hospitals position and after consultation with the Mater Hospital, it was decided that The Children's Hospitals best future lay in a move to the Mater Campus.

During the 1980s, many new consultants joined the hospital staff and the process of sub-specialisation accelerated. Hospital activity, recovered after the 1987 cutbacks and settled down at its present levels and while there has been no major increase in the number of patients attending, there has been major advances the range and complexity of treatment available.

The 1990s saw many new developments including the building of St. Ultan's Metabolic Unit and the conversion of St. Brigid's Ward to a dedicated Metabolic Ward. The old convent on the top floor was converted into a Neurology Unit complete with remote telemetry and digital EEG monitoring and recording. In the area of Out-Patients the old 1971 vintage prefab housing the medical clinics was demolished and replaced by a large two storey extension to the surgical out-patients which itself was extensively refurbished. All of the wards at this stage have been upgraded and redecorated and within the last few years an extension of the Audiology Unit has been commissioned as also has a new laboratory for the National Meningococcal Reference Laboratory which was set up at the request of the Department of Health.

This brings us up to the present day with construction of the new Casualty and Day Ward well advanced, funding for the new hospital on the Mater Campus secured and planning for the latter firmly established. Undoubtedly, the Mater development of the 21st. Century Paediatric Hospital is the most exciting prospect since our foundation.

Teaching and Training

Junior Hospital Doctors
The Children's University Hospital is linked to both the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and University College Dublin for undergraduate and postgraduate training. The Professor of Paediatrics at R.C.S.I. is based in Temple Street, and UCD has an Associate Professor of Paediatrics here.The following training rotas exist:

Medical SHO: 6 months - Rotunda or National Maternity
6 months - Mullingar or Our Lady of Lourdes
1 year - Temple St.
Medical Registrar: 1 year - National Maternity, Holles Street
1 year - Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda
1 year - Temple St.
ENT Registrar/SHO: Irish Training Committee in Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. Rotation for two posts for six months each.
G.P./SHO: RCSI Vocational Training Committee for General Practice. Two GP training posts for six months.
Surgical SHO: Dublin Regional Surgical Training Committee. Three posts for six months.

Paediatric Nursing
The hospital's nurse training school trains nurses for the Higher Diploma in Nursing Studies (Sick Children's Nursing) and the hospital is linked to University College Dublin. There are 100 students in training at any one time.