Statement from Minister for Health Simon Harris
The Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has today noted the publication of the agreement between the National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent’s Healthcare Group by the two hospitals (http://www.nmh.ie/_fileupload/News/Final%20NMH-SVUH%20Agreement%2021_11_16.pdf). The Minister also particularly welcomes the confirmation by the Board of St.Vincent’s Healthcare Group that any medical procedure which is in accordance with the laws of this State will be carried out at the new hospital.
The Boards of both hospitals are meeting this week and will no doubt review progress to date. The Minister and his officials will arrange meetings with the two hospitals shortly. The Minister repeats his request that some time be allowed for the detailed work that is necessary. The project is at the very early stages with a planning decision on the hospital not expected until the Autumn. The Minister intends to report to Government on this project at the end of May. At that stage he expects to have further details on the legal and other arrangements envisaged and to make this information available publicly. This will allow for the necessary clarity to be publicly available well in advance of contractual or other commitments being entered into in respect of this project.
The location of all maternity hospitals on the sites of adult teaching hospitals is a key objective of the National Maternity Strategy, in order to deliver the best outcomes for women and children. The relocation of the National Maternity Hospital to the St Vincent’s campus, Elm Park has been the subject of three separate mediation processes since 2015. This culminated in the agreement between the National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent’s which was successfully concluded last November under the mediation of Mr Kieran Mulvey. This agreement provides for the creation of a new company which would have “clinical and operational independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology, obstetrics and neonatal services (without religious, ethnic or other distinction).” A legal process is necessary to establish this company and provide for the structure, objectives, role and powers.
Separate to this process is the development of legal arrangements regarding the terms upon which public funds will be made available to support the construction of the hospital. Further work will now take place over the coming weeks to bring added clarity to these matters.