Cabinet delays signing of new maternity hospital over ‘genuine concerns’

Cabinet has delayed signing the final contract to move the National Maternity Home (NMH) from Holles Street to the St Vincent campus due to “real concerns”, the Health Secretary has said.

High ministers pushed against signing the final deal and some Fine Gael and Green Party ministers are understood to have expressed concerns about the hospital’s relocation, with female ministers questioning whether all services will be provided at the new hospital.

As the Sisters of Charity have transferred their stake in the company that owns land for the new NMH, concerns have been raised by opposition politicians as well as NMH’s former master, Dr. Peter Boylan, voiced who raised concerns about the new hospital.

Minister Donnelly said he would appear before the Dáil Health Committee to answer questions about the project before the deal is signed by Cabinet in two weeks.

“Some people have recently expressed serious concerns and we agreed that the Oireachtas and the public would be best served if they saw the details before the government made a final decision,” Minister Donnelly said.

“The biggest concern people are expressing is that they want reassurance, they want absolute reassurance that the hospital will be totally independent.

“That’s absolutely the case, there are multiple layers of protection,” he said.

The delay in signing the deal came after Social Democrats and Sinn Féin urged Cabinet to delay signing before the deal could be properly scrutinized by politicians.

While the minister will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the hospital, the state will own a “golden stake” in the company and appoint three members to a board of nine.

The health secretary will also have the power to instruct the board that all legal maternity or gynecology services are available at the hospital.

He said “all healthcare services” will be offered at the new hospital, including gender-affirming surgeries and assisted reproduction.

The former head of the NMH, Dr. Rhona Mahony, urging the project not to fall apart over “misinformation”, said the purpose of moving the hospital was to be “in the same place” as St Vincent’s Hospital.

“The whole point is that we want to offer the women of the National Maternity Home all the services on the St. Vincent campus,” she said.

“All services permitted under Irish law will be provided. In addition, the hospital will function as a hospital and should we need doctors from Vincent’s, they can simply walk across a corridor and attend to our patients.”

Social Democrat Vice-Chairman Róisín Shortall said there were still a number of questions to be answered in connection with the deal, including the details known about St Vatican about the company.

A St Vincent’s spokesman said that any suggestion that the way the company was formed was anything “murky” is “disingenuous and continues the campaign of scaremongering and spreading misinformation about our group”.

“It is unacceptable that such scaremongering should continue despite the actual situation.” Cabinet delays signing of new maternity hospital over ‘genuine concerns’

Fry Electronics Team

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