Mount Carmel makes senior appointments

Hospital appoints obstetricians in advance of sale by National Asset Management Agency

The National Asset Management Agency is considering bids for Mount Carmel Hospital from at least two shortlisted parties and  is expected to announce a buyer within weeks. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The National Asset Management Agency is considering bids for Mount Carmel Hospital from at least two shortlisted parties and is expected to announce a buyer within weeks. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 01:01

The only private maternity hospital in the State has announced two senior appointments in advance of its expected sale in the coming weeks.

Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin says Prof Sean Daly and Dr Michael O’Connell, both consultants at the Coombe Women’s Hospital, have joined its obstetrician and consultant team.

The move bolsters Mount Carmel’s private maternity care offering at a time when the sector has been under pressure due to the fall in the number of people with private health insurance. There had been speculation within medical circles in relation to Mount Carmel’s obstetric unit, given the retirement next month of clinical lead Dr Julian Dockeray and the rising cost of insurance for doctors providing private obstetric care. One of the insurers providing cover for private obstetricians recently increased its premiums by 30 per cent.

Cost of premiums

A spokesman acknowledged the rising cost of premiums was an issue and said it was looking at alternative options, including other providers.

The National Asset Management Agency, which is considering bids for the hospital from at least two shortlisted parties, is expected to announce a buyer within weeks.

The favourite is Centric Health, which operates a primary care centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare. Founded by Dr Ray Power and Dr Maurice Cox in 2003, it also provides medical recruitment and testing, and diagnostic imaging services.

Nama’s involvement arises from its acquisition of the loans of developer Jerry Conlan, who bought the hospital in 2006 with €60 million loaned by AIB.

The sale is expected to make about €10 million, far short of the €67 million Conlan paid the Little Company of Mary Sisters for Mount Carmel in 2006.

In addition to private maternity care, Mount Carmel carries out a variety of elective operations, including hip and knee replacements.

Mount Carmel chief executive John O’Brien said the hospital had had a challenging time but was now closing in on an outcome that would position it strongly into the future. “Our focus is on continuing to add to our patient offering and to ensure that Mount Carmel is integrated with the wider healthcare system. This is likely to involve a greater emphasis on primary care,” he said.

Renovation programme

The two new appointments were significant ones, he said. “These appointments, together with our recently completed renovation programme and new special baby care unit, underline the hospital’s commitment to provide high-quality care for mums and babies.”