Wednesday 22 November 2017

Last delivery at Mount Carmel will be on Friday

Memories: Mount Carmel does not have the funds to continue to trade.
Memories: Mount Carmel does not have the funds to continue to trade.
Medical machinery which is on loan being removed from Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin where the directors of the hospital have applied to the High Court for the appointment of a liquidator. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Mount Carmel staff & INMO reps (L to R) Marian Hendrick, Eileen Finn, Philip McAnenly, Eleanor Byrne and Patricia Kelly Maloney.

The last baby will be born in Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin this Friday before it closes its doors for good the following weekend.

Unions were informed of the scale down at a meeting with the hospital's liquidators today, said SIPTU official Kevin Figgis.

An ante natal service will continue to be provided next week but no births will take place there. An obstetrician will be on duty until February 8th or 9th.

The private hospital which has been in liquidation since last Friday has had 17 babies born there since.

A number of patients who were transferred there from neighbouring hospitals to receive routine care will all have been discharged by this Friday.

Staff were told they will get statutory redundancy but may have to wait six months before they receive their payouts.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who is TD for the Churchtown area, visited the hospital last night and addressed staff who appealed to him to put pressure on the Department of Health to buy the hospital which was taken over by NAMA in 2010.

Mr Shatter said he could not make any commitments about the hospital which had debts of around €35m.

"Of course it's awful," he began, until he was interrupted by a former employee, who said: "But the governments bailed out the banks, we're only looking for a fraction, you know. Human life wasn't involved with the banks."

He replied: "I know you're stressed. But the government doesn't....The country is practically bankrupt and all of you here, if we hadn't had bailed out the banks, who had any deposits held at any financial institutions would have found all of those wiped out overnight as well."

But Mr Shatter was then told: "But they got their redundancy, they got their six weeks plus whatever. We're not getting that."

Between 20 to 25 babies a week are normally born in the hospital but hundreds of women who were booked in to give birth in the coming weeks or months are being transferred to other maternity hospitals in Dublin.

A spokeswoman for the liquidators RSM Farrell Grant Sparks said it is continuing to scale down activities in the hospital and care is now just confined to women who were booked in to give birth.

The staff are being paid up to the end of this month and a small number will be retained next week.

The staff will get statutory redundancy and also compensated for holiday time which is due.

The number of births fell 1,250 last year from about 2,000 a couple of years ago.

The hospital which was being kept afloat by NAMA has debts of over €35m.

It had been acquired by developer Jerry Conlan in 2006 from the Little Company of Mary Sisters using a €65m loan from AIB, and has been up for sale since last year.

While as many as 28 serious potential bidders emerged from an initial 50 expressions of interest, just one substantial bid for the business was received.

The HSE said that Ian Carter, the National Director for Acute Hospitals Division met with the liquidator to discuss how best to continue the patients care.

The HSE and the Department of Health were approached by NAMA in connection with the sale of Mount Carmel. Due to a number of factors, including the declining birth rate, the HSE decided not to proceed in relation to buying it.

Eilish O’Regan and Fiona Ellis

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