Dublin hospitals agree over mediator

St Vincent’s and National Maternity Hospital in final effort to resolve governance row

A dispute over governance structures after the NMH ’s move from Holles Street to the St Vincent’s campus has delayed  a planning application for the €150 million project.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

A dispute over governance structures after the NMH ’s move from Holles Street to the St Vincent’s campus has delayed a planning application for the €150 million project. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

St Vincent’s hospital and the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) have agreed to the appointment of a high-profile mediator to lead a final effort at resolving their row over governance structures.

The decision by the two Dublin hospitals to resume talks under a mediator, follows separate meetings with new Minister for Health Simon Harris, who had urged an early return to the negotiating table.

Chairman of the Labour Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey is one of a number of prominent figures being considered for the role of mediator, but no one has been agreed as yet.

A dispute over governance structures that would apply after the NMH ’s planned move from Holles Street to the St Vincent’s campus has delayed the lodging of a planning application for the €150 million project.

The NMH wants to retain a separate board and an obstetrician/master as chief executive. St Vincent’s wants both hospitals run by the same board, on which the maternity hospital would have two seats.

Mr Harris and Department of Health secretary general Jim Breslin met representatives of St Vincent’s in Leinster House last week. Separately, Mr Harris visited Holles Street earlier this month to see the cramped conditions in which mothers deliver their babies.

St Vincent’s chairman Jimmy Menton recently met the incoming NMH chairman Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns to see if a basis for resuming talks could be established.

Mr Menton has clashed with ex-NMH master Dr Peter Boylan over his claims St Vincent’s could prevent a relocated NMH from providing IVF, sterilisation and other services because of its Catholic ethos, unless it retains control over maternity services.

St Vincent’s is owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity, two of whose members sit on its board. St Vincent’s said claims ethical issues would arise are a “red herring”.