Sunday 25 February 2018

Directors of new St Vincent's company 'will be lay members'

James Menton, chairman of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group. Photo: Frank McGrath
James Menton, chairman of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group. Photo: Frank McGrath
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A new company which will take over St Vincent's Hospital campus in Dublin from the Sisters for Charity will have a board made up entirely of lay members with no directors drawn from religious bodies, it was claimed yesterday.

The Order of the Sisters of Charity currently is the sole shareholder but it is relinquishing ownership.

The new company will be called 'St Vincent's' when it is established. This entity will acquire the shareholding currently held by the Sisters of Charity when it ends its links with the healthcare campus.

The company's board, which will be made up of directors with various expertise, will be largely "passive".

The main decision-making will continue to be made by the St Vincent's Healthcare Group which has a separate board, its chairman James Menton said yesterday.

He said he and a number of other directors will sit on the first interim board of the new company for a year as part of the transition.

"We would not envisage that members of any church would be on the board of the new company," he said.

A board meeting for the new firm would be quite passive while the meetings of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group will continue to be concerned with all aspects of the running of the service, he said.

"You want people on the shareholder board who understand what healthcare is about and who have some other disciplines.

"But you also want people who have the same understanding and the values. They have oversight of the people running the hospitals," he said.

The first directors of the new company will be appointed by board members of St Vincent's Healthcare Group.

Apart from members of the Sisters of Charity, who will now step down, the board of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group is made up of people from business backgrounds.

The new maternity hospital will have a nine-member board, four from the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, four from St Vincent's Healthcare Group and an international expert.

It will be owned by the St Vincent's Healthcare Group.

Mr Menton said the Sisters of Charity was already planning to leave the hospital group and had envisaged making an announcement around September.

However, the controversy generated by concerns about its ownership of the maternity hospital brought this forward.

It will transfer its shares to St Vincent's, the new company, for a peppercorn or nominal sum.

In a statement yesterday, Sister Mary Christian, the order's congregational leader, said that it will have no involvement with the new company.

"For the last two years we have been actively working to find the best way to relinquish our shareholding."

She said the order remains dedicated to preserving the legacy of Mary Aikenhead.

However, its health service code will be changed to reflect compliance with national and international best practice guidelines and the laws of the Republic.

The decision means the religious order will not be involved in the ownership or management of the new maternity hospital, which is to be built at Elm Park.

Irish Independent

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