Sunday 4 December 2016

Bitter maternity hospital row is 'near resolution'

Published 29/10/2016 | 02:30

Kieran Mulvey, former chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission Photo: Tom Burke
Kieran Mulvey, former chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission Photo: Tom Burke

A new agreement which could end the bitter row that has held up the building of a modern National Maternity Hospital is believed to be imminent.

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The much-needed facility has been delayed because of the dispute over control of the hospital if it moves from its city centre location in Holles St to the campus of St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin 4.

St Vincent's healthcare group demanded that there be a single governance structure.

However, the maternity hospital objected to this, saying it would lose independence while the long-established system of having a hospital master would be phased out.

It is believed that significant progress in efforts to seal an agreement on governance and other clinical issues has been made in recent months.

The progress was made since former chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey was appointed as mediator.

The stand-off between the board and managers of the maternity hospital - currently struggling in an outdated building - and the St Vincent's healthcare group, governed by the Religious Sisters of Charity, has delayed plans to apply for planning permission.

Sources said a number of outstanding differences have yet to be ironed out but there is optimism that these can be overcome.

The current Holles St maternity building is no longer fit for purpose and is putting patients at increased risk.

Meanwhile, a Hiqa hygiene inspectors' report on the Rotunda maternity hospital yesterday said overall, patient equipment and the environment in the delivery suite were generally clean but there were some exceptions.

The infrastructure and design of the operating theatre in the delivery suite does not meet international best practice guidelines for operating theatre infrastructure and presents challenges for effective cleaning.

It praised the monitoring of wound infection following caesarean section, representing good practice.

Irish Independent

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