Publication of agreement on new maternity hospital raises fresh questions over ownership and governance

April 25, 2017

The publication of the agreement for the new National Maternity Hospital raises fresh concerns over its ownership and governance arrangements, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has said.

Deputy Shortall said:
“While I welcome the publication tonight of the agreement struck between St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the National Maternity Hospital, there are crucial details of the deal that are troubling. In particular, I am concerned that the procedures for appointing members to the board of the new hospital effectively give St Vincent’s Healthcare Group control over its board.

“Under the agreement, the appointment of the independent expert of the nine member board is weighted in favour of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group which is owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity. Does this mean that in practice St Vincent’s Healthcare Group would appoint five members of the nine member board, with the remaining four appointed by National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street?

“Such an arrangement can only increase concerns that many people share that a Catholic ethos will determine the range of medical interests available to them in the new hospital.

“It is also surprising that the agreement makes provision for St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to be the “sole owner” of the company behind the new hospital without providing any reason for this decision. What we have is an agreement that puts a €300 million publicly funded hospital into private hands but does not provide any rationale for this decision.”

25th April 2017