independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

'We found out we lost our jobs from relatives abroad' - Mount Carmel staff

Staff at Mount Carmel discovered liquidators had been appointed to the private hospital from relatives abroad who had sent text messages after seeing the news online.

Staff members and INMO representatives Patricia Kelly Maloney, Eleanor Byrne and Eileen Finn said they returned from a night shift at the hospital to text messages from relatives who had spotted the news online.

"My sister-in-law text me from London and said she read that Mount Carmel had gone into liquidation," Elieen Finn told independent.ie.

Meanwhile, surgical companies have swooped in on troubled Mount Carmel Hospital to claim back their borrowed medical equipment today - before the liquidators take over the hospital.

Reps from surgical companies who have equipment in the hospital's operating rooms have been arriving at the hospital this afternoon.

One consultant told independent.ie the reps are arriving in vans and are "up in the operating theatres emptying shelves of all of their equipment".

A source has confirmed that these pieces of equipment were on loan to the hospital and are now being returned. 

"This has never happened in Ireland before to a hospital, which is full of patients. It is absolutely shocking," she said.

All admissions have been cancelled, and patients who were due to have operations this afternoon have had those cancelled, the doctor said.

"There are women arriving because they have heard it on Joe Duffy, arriving into the hospital wondering where they are going to have their babies and what is going to happen to the deposits of thousands of euro that they have paid. They will never get that back."

Also, she said Mount Carmel is "full of patients, people waiting to have babies, elderly patients who were transferred from James’s and Tallaght, and people who had hip surgery and all sorts of stuff".

She described the hospital as chaotic this afternoon.

24/01/2014
Mount Carmel staff & INMO reps (L to R) Philip McAnenly
Eileen Finn
Marian Hendrick
Patricia Kelly Maloney 
Eleanor Byrne at Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin where the directors of the hospital have applied to the High Court for the appointment of a liquidator. 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins
Mount Carmel staff & INMO reps (L to R) Philip McAnenly, Eileen Finn, Marian Hendrick, Patricia Kelly Maloney and Eleanor Byrne at Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin where the directors of the hospital have applied to the High Court for the appointment of a liquidator. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

"Anyone can walk in off the street at the moment. It is like something you would see in Africa. It is absolute and utter chaos."

"Nurses are wandering around crying, not knowing what is going to happen to them. It is a shocking and appalling scene."

Meanwhile, there are women up in the delivery ward waiting to deliver babies.

"I spoke to a woman in the hall. She was crying, saying to me: “I saved up my money. I gave €2,000 to the hospital and I don’t know what is going to happen now'."

Patients are being advised to contact a helpline on 01-4086966. It will operate from 9am-5pm daily. The email address is: mountcarmel@rsmfgs.ie

More than 300 people are to lose their jobs after the High Court approved the appointment of provisional liquidators today.

Mothers-to-be who were booked to give birth in Dublin’s only private maternity hospital in the coming weeks are to be transferred to alternative facilities.

Earlier today, a spokeswoman for the liquidators Farrell Grant Sparks said there will be an “orderly wind down” and current patients in the hospital will be fully cared for in Mount Carmel.

She said women who are due to give birth in the coming days will also be cared for in Mount Carmel and will be contacted.

However, it is envisaged that obstetrics patients who are booked into Mount Carmel for maternity services” in the weeks and months ahead “will be transferred to alternative maternity hospitals.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan this afternoon appointed insolvency practitioners Declan Taite and Anne O'Dwyer as joint provisional liquidators to  Mount Carmel Medical (South Dublin Ltd) which owns the Mount Carmel Hospital in Churchtown, Dublin after being informed the company is insolvent and unable to pay its debts.

The company sought to have the company wound up after what the court heard was "a disastrous 2013" and when NAMA decided it was no longer in a position to provide working capital to the company which allowed the hospital to trade.

The Judge said he was satisfied to appoint the provisional liquidators after being informed that a plan has been put in place to protect, care and attend to the needs of the hospital's 230 patients, 60 of whom are in-patients at the private hospital.

Solicitor for the provisional liquidators  Ms Jane Marshall told the judge that looking after the hospital's patients was an "absolute priority" for her clients. The court heard that the liquidators had worked on a plan with management at the hospital  in advance of their appointment to ensure the patient's safety and well being would be in no way compromised.

In seeking the appointment of the provisional liquidators lawyers for the company said it was seeking the appointment of the liquidators because it was hopelessly insolvent and unable to pay its debts as they fall due.

The court heard the hospital which has been in existence since 1949, but was acquired by its current owners in 2006,  has debts of more than €35m  Its main creditors include NAMA, who in 2010 acquired a loan advanced to the company by AIB.

NAMA are supporting the application to have liquidators appointed.

Andrew Fitzpatrick Bl for the company said that it had been able to trade in recent years thanks to funding provided by NAMA. However in recent days NAMA said it was no longer prepared to provide any more funds. The company did not have the funds to continue to trade beyond next week.

The hospital was left with the option of either closing its doors immediately, which counsel said was "not an option" or having liquidators appointed who would ensure an orderly winding up of the business.

Counsel said NAMA is prepared to fund the liquidation and orderly wind up of the business.

Approximately 328 people were employed at the hospital. Out of the 250 full time employees 150 of them were nurses.

The matter will return before the court early next month.

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