Hope for ex-staff as HSE bid may lead to reopening of Mount Carmel
A PRIVATE maternity hospital could reopen as an overflow facility following a surprise bid from health service bosses.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) is understood to have made the most credible bid for Mount Carmel hospital in Churchtown, Co Dublin, after it went on the market for €12m this year.
It's believed the HSE intends to use the hospital as an overflow for other Dublin hospitals and as a step-down facility for patients who are in the process of migrating from hospital to home.
Some of the hospital's former staff could be rehired after more than 300 lost their jobs there last January after the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) decided it was no longer in a position to provide working capital to the company which allowed the hospital to trade.
The move comes after the HSE said it had ruled out taking over operations of the loss-making hospital while it was still trading as it would have to assume responsibility for its liabilities and staff.
NAMA was forced to put the hospital on the market at a steep discount after it was unable to find another company to take it over.
Corporate finance firms Mazers is handling the sale of the hospital which was acquired by developer Gerry Conlon in 2006, with a €60m loan from Allied Irish Banks (AIB).
The state agency is understood to have put forward financial support of almost €10m following its acquisition of the hospital in 2010.
Earlier this year the High Court was told the hospital, which has been in existence since 1949, had debts of more than €35m.
Many former members of staff have said they would willingly "walk back in" to their old jobs if a move to reopen the facility was successful.
Both the HSE and NAMA declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday.