Press Release

Minister for Health Simon Harris welcomes agreement reached between the National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital Group

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, today announced that agreement has been reached between the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) and St Vincent’s Hospital Group on the redevelopment of the NMH on the Elm Park campus. This follows extensive mediation discussions over recent months. Both hospitals have now agreed a new governance arrangement for the co-located hospitals which will see the establishment of a new Company – The National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park DAC (limited by shares).

Minister Harris said; “I am thrilled to be in a position today to launch the development of this vital project for the future of maternity services in this country. Delivering a world class state-of-the-art new National Maternity Hospital for women and infants has been a key priority for me since becoming Minister for Health. Within weeks of taking office, I appointed independent mediator Kieran Mulvey to facilitate the discussions. I also met with both hospital boards and management and urged them to find a resolution which would enable the project to proceed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kieran for all his hard work. I know Kieran invested a significant amount of time working with the hospitals individually and jointly and I think the agreement he now presents is fair, balanced and workable.

“I want to warmly thank Nicky Kearns, Chair of the National Maternity Hospital and Jimmy Menton, Chair of the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group. I also wish to thank Rhona Mahony, Master of the National Maternity Hospital and Michael Keane, CEO of St. Vincent’s University Hospital. I appreciate the significant efforts made by both hospitals over recent months to reach a resolution. At the outset I asked both hospitals to be flexible and innovative, to be open to change, and to demonstrate real leadership. It is clear that both hospitals listened and, motivated by the desire to provide women and infants with the best possible sustainable service on the Elm Park Campus, have, through this agreement, demonstrated real leadership.

“The National Maternity Hospital is a national treasure and has cared for many thousands of women and infants down through the years since it was built in 1894. The move to the Elm Park Campus will ensure the continuation of the ethos and tradition of the National Maternity Hospital, in a modern environment which meets best international standards”.

Earlier this year the Government published the country’s first ever National Maternity Strategy. The new hospital will give physical expression to the Strategy and ensure that women will receive their care in an environment where their need for dignity and privacy is respected. Co-location with St Vincent’s University Hospital will also ensure that women have immediate access to any necessary acute medical or support services, and this will increase the safety profile of the service.

This development will undoubtedly raise the international profile of the St Vincent’s University Hospital campus. The potential of the campus in terms of research is immense. The potential benefits of this project for clinicians and staff in both hospitals is immense too. But most of all, this project will provide the population of the Ireland East Hospital Group and beyond, with the modern infrastructure appropriate for the delivery of safe, high quality maternity, gynaecology and neonatal care.

The agreement ensures that the project can proceed. The Design Team will now review and update all the underlying planning documentation with a view to submitting a Strategic Infrastructure Development application to an Bord Pleanala, early in the New Year.

Notes for Editors

  • A new company will be established – “The National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park DAC (limited by shares)” – which will be a subsidiary of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group.
  • The new company will have clinical and operational independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services, as well as financial and budgetary independence.
  • The agreement secured will harness the strengths of both hospitals for the betterment of women’s healthcare.
  • The agreement protects and the identity and branding of the NMH at Elm Park and the right to the use of the new maternity hospital facility.
  • The board of the new company will comprise 9 directors; 4 nominated by SVHG, 4 by NMH, including the Master, and 1 will be an international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology.
  • The Chair will rotate every three years; the first Chair will be one of the NMH nominated Directors.
  • Two of the NMH Directors will also sit on the SVHG Board.
  • The autonomy of the NMH Board will be underpinned by reserved powers to ensure clinical and operational independence.
  • Those reserved powers can only be amended with the unanimous written approval of the Directors and with the approval of the Minister for Health.
  • While recognising the reserved powers for the new maternity hospital, the SVHG will retain overall responsibility for the effective and efficient operation of the totality of the hospital campus.
  • The Mastership model for the maternity hospital will be retained. Additionally, the Master will act in the position of Clinical Director of Obstetrics and Gynaecology across the campus.