Press Release

Minister Approves the award of the contract for the first phase of the National Maternity Hospital Project

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, has approved the contract for the first phase of the National Maternity Hospital to proceed.

Minister Harris updated the Cabinet on Tuesday on the project to redevelop the hospital on the St Vincent’s University Hospital Campus and confirmed he is to approve the award of the pharmacy/car park contract, which will represent the first phase of the new NMH development.

St Vincent’s Healthcare Group has confirmed the process by which the Religious Sisters of Charity will transfer their shareholding and withdraw from the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group. The Minister warmly acknowledged the valuable work of the Sisters in the provision of health services at St Vincent’s down through the years.

The Minister also welcomed the agreement reached to include a Public Interest representative on the Board of the new NMH DAC. Assurances that the Board will be competency based, and that a review of current NMH governance will be undertaken to bring it in line with modern standards, have also been received.

The agreement in principle of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to provide the State with a 99 year lease of the land upon which the new maternity hospital will be built will allow the State to retain ownership of the new facility, to be operated by the National Maternity Hospital DAC. A suite of legal documents has been prepared to give effect to this agreement and will be finalised in the New Year, in conjunction with both the NMH and St Vincent’s Healthcare Group. The documents fulfil two important functions; firstly, they will protect the State’s significant financial investment in the new hospital, and secondly, they further confirm that the NMH will retain its clinical and operational independence. The Minister confirmed that the overall legal framework will, unequivocally, copper-fasten the principle that patient care in the new hospital will be delivered without religious, ethnic or other distinction, and that any relevant medical procedure, which is in accordance with the laws of the land, will be carried out at the new hospital.

The Minister welcomed the significant progress that has been made which now allows the project to move forward. Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I am satisfied that the progress we have made, allows us to move forward. I will now approve the award of the pharmacy/car park contract which is an important stage in the development of the new NMH. We have waited too long for this moment, but I am delighted that we have now reached a truly significant milestone, and excited that work will soon progress. This will enable us to achieve our ultimate goal of a landmark world class maternity facility for the benefit of the women and children of Ireland. The comprehensive legal framework prepared, and the commitments received from both hospitals, mean that I am fully confident that the new hospital will be owned by the State, that the NMH will be clinically and operationally independent and that no religious influence can, or will, be brought to bear on the new hospital. I will revert to Cabinet in the new year with an update on the main project.”

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

Considerable work has been undertaken to develop a legal framework to protect the State’s significant investment in the new hospital. The Department has been engaging with NMH and St Vincent’s Healthcare Group in relation to the legal framework required to protect the State’s investment in the new hospital. Work to finalise the suite of legal documents will be agreed with the NMH and SVHG and completed in the New Year. However, agreement in principle has been achieved on specific issues, including that the Board of the new NMH DAC will include a Public Interest representative, that it will be competency based and that St.Vincent’s Healthcare Group will grant a lease to the State for the land upon which the new maternity hospital will be constructed.