Mulvey to mediate in maternity hospital row
The head of the Workplace Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey has been asked to step in to the row over plans to co-locate the National Maternity Hospital on the site of St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin.
New Health Minister Simon Harris has appointed Mr Mulvey as a mediator after hosting a joint meeting with representatives from Holles Street National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent's Hospital Group yesterday.
The two bodies are at loggerheads because the proposed governance requirements set down by St Vincent's for the new hospital on their grounds in Elm Park will place all services, including tertiary maternity and neonatal services, under the control of the St Vincent's board and shareholders, the Religious Sisters of Charity.
Under such an arrangement, the role of the Master of Holles Street, Dr Rhona Mahony, would be replaced by a single clinical director reporting to a CEO appointed by St Vincent's.
The dispute has all but derailed the entire process which was first mooted in 1998.
However, Mr Harris told the Irish Independent last night that he wants a speedy resolution. "Expectant mothers and their children in Ireland absolutely need a new national maternity hospital," he said.
"While I cannot impose a solution between Holles Street and St Vincent's, I'm very eager to use my position to bring both sides together and pave a way forward.
"I've asked both to engage in a process of mediation to reach a resolution. I've been assured by both hospitals that they will approach this in very positive manner.
"We need to get on with building this hospital," he said.
Holles Street National - the largest maternity hospital in Ireland, which last year delivered almost 9,500 babies - describes its current hospital as "antiquated, undersized and unsuitable for modern obstetric and neonatal practice".
Mr Mulvey has been involved in industrial relations for over two decades and is widely recognised as the "go to" person in government circles for settling disputes.