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Saturday 23 August 2014

400 women contacted in scramble to arrange maternity transfers

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 28/01/2014 | 02:30

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Medical machinery which is on loan being removed from Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin where the directors of the hospital have applied to the High Court for the appointment of a liquidator. Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins
Medical machinery which is on loan being removed from Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin where the directors of the hospital have applied to the High Court for the appointment of a liquidator. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

MORE than 400 pregnant women who were due to give birth in Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin have now been contacted by their consultant obstetricians to arrange a transfer to another maternity unit.

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The private maternity hospital is to close in the coming weeks after being put into liquidation last Friday, leaving hundreds of maternity and general patients unsure of where they will be treated,

The hospital is continuing to provide care to pregnant women who were booked in to give birth in the coming days but others, who are due in the weeks ahead, will be transferred to the National Maternity Hospital, the Coombe and the Rotunda, all in Dublin.

A spokeswoman for the liquidator RSM Farrell Grant Sparks said at least 400 pregnant women who were patients of the maternity unit had now been contacted.

It continued to scale down activities in the hospital and care is now just confined to women who were booked in to give birth.

The helpline which was set up to deal with inquiries has taken around 600 calls and will remain open for patient queries.

All appointments, general procedures, including hip and eye surgeries, have been cancelled. The hospital delivered 20 babies a week and the liquidators have promised an "orderly wind down" before it finally closes its doors.

The spokeswoman said it was still unclear when the hospital would close, as this could not be determined until every woman had secured a place in another hospital in which to give birth.

The closure will mean around 1,200 private fee-paying maternity patients will now attend one of the other three maternity hospitals in the city instead this year. This will bring in much-need income which has been lost as more women opt to go public.

The National Maternity Hospital in Holles St has posted a notice on its website saying patients of Mount Carmel Hospital were welcome. It also invited the women to attend a guided tour of the facilities yesterday evening.

TRANSFER

Several of the women are expected to be transferred to the Coombe Hospital. Some of the consultants working in Mount Carmel are also full-time obstetricians in the Coombe.

The National Maternity Hospital saw a 33pc reduction in private patients, while semi-private numbers are down 8.8pc since 2008. The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin has seen the number of women choosing its private and semi-private services fall by 29pc. The 320 staff at the hospital, 200 of whom are nurses, will be paid until the end of this week. The liquidator's spokeswoman said that no member of staff would be asked to work without pay if they were needed from next week if more patients were still being treated there.

The staff will get statutory redundancy and also be compensated for holiday time which is due. Women who paid deposits to the hospitals are to have them returned, although this may only be a partial repayment if they have already has some form of service there.

Irish Independent

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