Maternity hospital delay frustrating
The heated debate over the proposed move of the National Maternity Hospital to a site owned by a religious order at St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin has led to a situation where the entire project has been placed in doubt pending the outcome of a meeting of the hospital board, which has been announced to review the agreed plan. The threat to the development is to be greatly regretted, but is not entirely surprising. When it comes to such projects, this country seems to be unsurpassed in terms of obfuscation and delay, particularly when various vested and competing interests are at play. Now is a time for calm heads and measured public comment with one outcome in mind, which is that the development of a much-needed new maternity hospital can proceed without undue delay.
The belated doubts thrown over the development of the maternity hospital come at a time when renewed concerns have been expressed about the funding and running costs which are delaying a final government decision to go ahead with the proposed new €1bn National Children's Hospital in Dublin. This is also a much-needed facility, but it has been repeatedly delayed due to location and planning issues and is now at renewed risk of being set back further because of associated spiralling costs.
A certain level of exasperation at these events is understandable. It seems that whenever the State embarks on major projects, such as the development of these hospitals, rival interests, whatever the motivation, somehow conspire for advantage, even after painstaking negotiations have taken place and agreement has been reached, as in the case of the proposed new National Maternity Hospital.