Legal framework for new National Maternity Hospital approved

Legal framework for new National Maternity Hospital approved

Stephen Donnelly

The legal framework underpinning the ownership and governance arrangements for the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) has been agreed by ministers following an extended political row.

Campaigners and opposition parties have raised concerns about possible religious influence in the hospital after its relocation to the St Vincent’s University Hospital campus at Elm Park, which is linked to the Religious Sisters of Charity.

The religious institute recently transferred its shareholding in St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG) to a new entity, St Vincent’s Holdings, which will lease the land to the NMH for a 299-year period, The Irish Times reports.

The legal framework for the NMH has now been approved by the government, the HSE board as well as the boards of the NMH and SVHG.

Health minister Stephen Donnelly said: “There were concerns that access to essential healthcare services could potentially be restricted due to the religious beliefs or ethical code of the hospitals concerned.

“I am absolutely satisfied that this legal framework ensures this will not be the case and that all lawfully permissible services will be provided in the new NMH, as they are in the current NMH.”

The government said the legal framework will ensure that all legally permissible services will be available in the new NMH; prevent any influence, religious or otherwise, on the operation of the new hospital; and safeguard the State’s significant investment in the hospital.

Paul Reid, CEO of the HSE, said: “Delivering the new NMH at the St Vincent’s campus is a hugely important development in our efforts to improve maternity and gynaecology services in Ireland. The approval of the legal framework by all key parties brings us one step closer to making this new hospital a reality.”

Share icon
Share this article: