Thursday 17 October 2019

New national maternity hospital will be State-owned and care free of religious ethos - Harris

Health Minister Simon Harris. Picture: Arthur Carron.
Health Minister Simon Harris. Picture: Arthur Carron.

Eilish O’Regan

THE new national maternity hospital will be owned by the State and care delivered free of religious ethos, Health Minister Simon Harris said today.

Agreement in principle  had been reached for St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to provide the State with a 99 year lease of the land on which the New Maternity Hospital (NMH) will be built.

The hospital will be built at the campus of St Vincent’s Hospital.

He said the deal will allow the State to retain ownership of the new facility, to be operated by the National Maternity Hospital DAC.

“A suite of legal documents has been prepared to give effect to this agreement and will be finalised in the New Year, in conjunction with both the NMH and St Vincent’s Healthcare Group.

“The documents fulfil two important functions; firstly, they will protect the State’s significant financial investment in the new hospital, and secondly, they further confirm that the NMH will retain its clinical and operational independence. “

The Minister said that “ the overall legal framework will, unequivocally, copper-fasten the principle that patient care in the new hospital will be delivered without religious, ethnic or other distinction, and that any relevant medical procedure, which is in accordance with the laws of the land, will be carried out at the new hospital. “

He was speaking after it was confirmed the Cabinet has given the go ahead to the  project to redevelop the hospital on the campus of St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin.

The contract for the start of the pharmacy and car park contract which will be the first phase has got the green light.

He said that St Vincent’s Healthcare Group has confirmed the process by which the Religious Sisters of Charity will transfer their shareholding and withdraw from the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group.

He acknowledged the valuable work of the Sisters in the provision of health services at St Vincent’s down through the years.

Agreement has been reached to include a public interest representative on the board overseeing the hospital.

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