Wednesday 18 October 2017

State will own new Maternity Hospital, says minister as plans passed

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Julien Behal
Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Julien Behal
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The new €300m National Maternity Hospital will be owned by the State, Health Minister Simon Harris has revealed.

The hospital will be built with public funds and sited at the campus of St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin.

The building was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála yesterday.

The hospital will move from its outdated and cramped building in Holles Street to the site a few miles away in south Dublin.

The proposed hospital was at the centre of controversy earlier this year after it emerged the Order of the Sisters of Charity, which is the main shareholder in St Vincent's Healthcare Group, would own the hospital.

A public outcry followed amid fears a Catholic ethos may lead to some procedures not being offered to patients.

This was defused after the religious order announced it would be withdrawing from St Vincent's Healthcare Group and have no involvement in the maternity hospital.

Intensive

The minister said yesterday that under a new proposed agreement, the State would finance the building of the hospital and retain ownership.

He said there had been intensive and very constructive engagement between the Department of Health and St Vincent's Healthcare Group over recent months. It was aimed at agreeing arrangements for the building and ownership of the new hospital, he said.

The parties are now finalising an agreement with St Vincent's and Holles Street. It is envisaged the new hospital building will remain in State ownership.

"Under the proposed agreement, the National Maternity Hospital would operate the hospital and have the use of the building. Very good progress has been made to date on this agreement, but some further work is needed," the minister said.

Irish Independent

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