Thursday 17 October 2019

St Vincent's group meet to review offer of free site for new national maternity hospital

Holles Street Hospital Photo: Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
Holles Street Hospital Photo: Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

St Vincent’s Hospital Healthcare Group meets this week to review the offer of a free site for the new national maternity hospital at its Dublin 4 campus.

The board of St Vincent’s - which is providing the site to build the much needed new maternity hospital - is angry at the public comments about the decision to allow the Sisters of Charity own the new hospital.

The Sisters of Charity own the public and private St Vincent's Hospitals.

If it pulls the plug on its involvement, it will mean another delay of years to find a new site for the €300m maternity hospital which is currently housed in an outdated building in Holles St.

A leaked copy of the 25-page agreement, worked out between the boards of Holles St and St Vincent’s appears to confirm reassurances about the autonomy of the new hospital, stating that it will be protected by its own independent company.

It will be given reserved powers which will allow it to provide services which are without religious, ethic or other distinction.

The aim is also to protect the State’s investment of €300m and it will not be possible to use the building as a means of getting a loan for a private facility, for instance.

Kieran Mulvey, the former industrial relations troubleshooter, who mediated the deal between the two hospitals is to be asked to appear before the Oireachtas health committee to be quizzed on the details of the agreement.

Health Minister Simon Harris has called for “cool heads” as the debate of the ownership of the hospital intensified.

He said believes that all legal procedures can be carried out at the hospital and this is underpinned by the agreement.

The minister is to ask the HSE to provide more clarity to ensure that the agreement is watertight before the State invests its funding, he added.

The Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran said he believed that the religious order would have to obey the rules of the Catholic Church if they become owners of the hospital.

The Bishop was at the centre of controversy in recent years after he resigned from the board of the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

He resigned from the hospital’s board after it confirmed it would comply with Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.It means a termination of pregnancy could be carried out at the hospital in event of a woman’s life being at risk.

Speaking at the time of his resignation in October 2013, he said :”I have resigned because I can’t reconcile my own conscience personally with the statement, largely because I feel a Catholic hospital has to bear witness.

“It’s about bearing witness to Gospel values alongside providing excellent care”

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