The Minister of Health accused of being “ hidden ” following the move of a maternity hospital

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Women’s health activists have accused Health Minister Stephen Donnelly of being “in hiding” as her department finalizes legal plans for the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) move.

Opposition and government TDs, as well as activists, fear the hospital may not be fully state-owned and seek to meet with Mr. Donnelly to discuss the matter.

Plans to move Holles Street Hospital in Dublin 2 to St Vincent University Hospital campus have been hampered by delays over concerns about future membership and religious ethics. It is understood that the legal framework dealing with issues relating to site ownership is being finalized and will be presented to the government shortly.

Academic and activist Ailbhe Smyth said “cast iron guarantees” around the property were needed before any contracts were signed. She called for a full debate in Dáil on the terms of this decision.

“There should be no gray areas in the ownership or governance of the National Maternity Hospital,” she said, adding that “any small print” should be “made readable”.

Meeting requests

Ms Smyth said she wanted to see “everything on the table and on the table” but requests to meet with the minister were not granted.

“One of the main problems we face is that we have a hidden minister.

The Ministry of Health did not respond to questions on this matter.

Concerns have been raised over the creation of a holding company to manage St Vincent’s and the new maternity hospital. St Vincent’s Holdings CLG is set up to stop the owners of St Vincent’s, the Sisters of Charity, from being involved in the hospital.

Peter Boylan, former NMH master, said the new hospital should not be a subsidiary of St Vincent’s Hospital Holdings Group “because there are many risks involved”.

“St Vincent’s Holdings is a private company with a Catholic philosophy in its constitution. The risks associated with this to women’s health in the future are immense and I don’t think many people fully appreciate them.

TD Social Democrats Cian O’Callaghan previously stated in the Dáil that “the core values ​​of the constitution of St Vincent’s Holdings are identical to those of the Sisters of Charity”. Mr Donnelly said last summer he was told that canon law would not impact the business.

Political promises

Mr. Boylan said he wrote to Mr. Donnelly expressing his concerns and was awaiting a response. He said political promises were made that the hospital would be state-owned on state land, but that “instead St Vincent is only offering the state a $ 99 lease. years in the field ”.

Three members of the government joined a multi-stakeholder group of DT Oireachtas set up to pressure Donnelly on the issue. John Lahart of Fianna Fáil, Jennifer Carroll MacNeill of Fine Gael and Neasa Hourigan of the Green Party were signatories of a letter sent by Social Democratic co-leader Róisín Shortall to Mr Donnelly on April 28 to request a meeting to discuss the issue of public ownership of the hospital.

In the Dáil last week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he accepts “the points that have been raised about the independence of the new hospital and that all state policies will be followed without question in hospital policy. and the operational functioning of the hospital ”. .

Mr. Martin said he would come back to Mr. Donnelly “for the first purpose of making their views known, but also to seek a resolution once and for all, as the current situation is not over. optimal in terms of women’s health ”.



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