Sunday 17 December 2017

Varadkar backs hospital's demand for independence

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Leo Varadkar. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The National Maternity Hospital should maintain its independent governance when it moves to the campus of St Vincent's Hospital, Health Minister Leo Varadkar has indicated.

A spokesman for the minister said he told the board overseeing the St Vincent's campus that co-location, where hospitals maintain their independence, is government policy.

He was speaking as the board of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group met yesterday to discuss the impasse which is holding up a planning application to construct a new building for the maternity hospital on its site.

The board of the national maternity hospital, currently located at Holles Street in Dublin, wants to maintain its governance structure which includes the system where it is headed by a master when it moves to the new site.

The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said it has concerns about the implications for women's reproductive health care if the board of St Vincent's Healthcare Group takes over the running of the national maternity hospital.

However, this has been dismissed by the St Vincent's board as "ridiculous".

The failure of hospitals to agree on governance issues has impacted on the running of some mergers in recent decades.

The hospital to suffer most in recent times was Tallaght Hospital which ended up with a huge board in order to satisfy all the hospitals which were teaming up in the one location.

In a letter to staff St Vincent's chairman James Menton said: "We do not propose the elimination of decision-making capacity for the National Maternity Hospital at senior clinical and corporate level.

"Our proposal concerns the governance of the campus and not the day-to-day decision-making within the hospitals.

"Our shareholders (Religious Sisters of Charity) have never interfered with our consultants' work to provide all services permitted within the law.

"We are satisfied that the consultants can be assured that their work will not be compromised," he told staff.

Irish Independent

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