Monday 26 September 2016

National Maternity Hospital is an 'inappropriate and sub-standard building' - Health Minister

Published 15/06/2016 | 16:08

Minister for Health Simon Harris
Minister for Health Simon Harris

Health Minister Simon Harris has said that the National Maternity Hospital at Dublin’s Holles Street is an “inappropriate and sub-standard building”.

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And he branded a row over a plan to move the hospital to the St Vincent’s Hospital campus as “an unedifying spat”.

Mr Harris was speaking in the Seanad in response to a question from Labour’s Kevin Humphreys.

Senator Humphreys highlighted the “turf war” between the two hospitals and said “we cannot allow up to 10,000 babies be delivered in a hospital that was built in the 1800s”.

Mr Harris said he has visited Holles Street since becoming Minister for Health.

“One cannot leave the place without thinking this is an entirely inappropriate and sub-standard building.

“It is not up to the standards we would want for expectant mothers and their infant children and indeed for frontline staff to work and deliver babies in.

“It is utterly unacceptable,” he added.

Mr Harris said he appointed former Workplace Relations Commission chief Kieran Mulvey to mediate between the two hospitals.

The minister said he intends to use his office to find a solution to the row.

“An unedifying spat between two of our great medical institutions does not serve patients well,” he added.

The two hospitals 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.

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