Friday 23 August 2019

St Vincent's draws up new constitution after Sisters of Charity era ends at hospital group

  

Nicholas Kearns: Paid tribute to the good work done by Dr Rhona Mahony. Picture: Collins
Nicholas Kearns: Paid tribute to the good work done by Dr Rhona Mahony. Picture: Collins
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A new revised constitution which "reflects the departure of the Religious Sisters of Charity from the St Vincent's Healthcare Group" has been drawn up and is awaiting official approval, it was claimed yesterday.

A spokeswoman for the St Vincent's Healthcare Group - which oversees the public and private hospitals - said the revised constitution was with the Charities Regulator.

The existing constitution, which had the ethical code of the Sisters of Charity as its guiding principle, was at the centre of controversy over whether it would conflict with practices in the new National Maternity Hospital which is to be built on the campus.

The new constitution has not yet been published and until it is made public and examined it is unlikely to fully reassure members of the public who remain sceptical about how the new arrangement will work.

A spokeswoman said: "The revised constitution is currently with the Charities Regulator for approval."

She said the order had stepped down from the board and was no longer involved in the healthcare group.

The constitution of the new company, St Vincent's Holding CLG, was sent to the Companies Registration Office for approval in the third quarter of last year.

The €300m new National Maternity Hospital, first announced five years ago, is to be built on the St Vincent's Hospital campus.

Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that Dr Rhona Mahony, the former master of the National Maternity Hospital, is stepping down from its board.

She has been appointed to sit on the new board of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group. It is understood it would not be possible to sit on both boards.

Nicholas Kearns, deputy chairman of the board of the National Maternity Hospital, said yesterday that Ms Mahony had been a hugely effective advocate for the rights and the health of women and infants.

"In particular, she has worked tirelessly in the interests of Holles Street for the establishment of the new National Maternity Hospital at the St Vincent's campus," he said.

"We wish her well in her new role. She has informed us that she is stepping down from the board of the National Maternity Hospital upon her appointment to the board of the St Vincent's Hospital Group."

Dr Mahony is now the director of women's health with the Ireland East Hospital Group and remains an obstetrician at Holles Street.

In a recent response, Health Minister Simon Harris said the Department of Health continued to engage with the St Vincent's Healthcare Group and the National Maternity Hospital.

The aim is to develop a legal framework to protect the State's significant investment in the new hospital, he said.

The St Vincent's Healthcare Group has agreed in principle to provide the State with a 99-year lease of the land upon which the new maternity hospital will be built.

This will allow the State to retain ownership of the new facility.

The eventual cost of the hospital is expected to be higher than the €300m figure in light of increasing construction inflation.

Mr Harris approved the contract for the first phase development - a pharmacy and car park - last December.

Irish Independent

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