Ex-children's hospital chairman quit over 'fundamental differences'

 

THE FORMER chairman of the new national paediatric hospital has said that he resigned on the basis of “significant and fundamental differences” between himself and Minister for Health Mary Harney.

In his letter of resignation, businessman Philip Lynch said there were fundamental differences on the need for open and informed discussion on the board of the new hospital on a range of matters.

These included the substantial funding gap for the project, clarity or absence of governance proposals, and planning and design challenges on the proposed site of the facility at the Mater hospital.

The letter, dated October 5th, and a replying letter sent by Ms Harney the following day, were released last week by the Department of Health.

The Minister’s letter reveals that she had sought Mr Lynch’s resignation following a meeting a number of days previously.

Mr Lynch said that at this meeting the Minister had “raised concerns about the nature and the extent of questioning, discussion and debate at recent board meetings relating to the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board”.

“You also challenged the basis for the meeting I attended with certain members of the Crumlin Hospital Foundation . For the record, I acceded to their request for a meeting.

“As I stated, this meeting was arranged to facilitate open discussion on the concerns of the foundation in relation to the National Paediatric Hospital Development.

“I felt it was important to give the foundation representatives an opportunity to communicate their views.”

In her letter, Ms Harney said it was “entirely untrue” that she had challenged the basis for his meeting with the Crumlin Hospital Foundation.

She said that one of the requirements of a chairman was to meet and develop good relations with all stakeholders.

“It has always been clear to me that the mandate of the board and its chairperson is to achieve the construction and commissioning of the new hospital at the site adjacent to the Mater hospital. Other people and groups are free to express a point of view about building the hospital at other sites.

“It is not, however, within the remit of the Development Board to revisit the Government decision taken on the location of the new hospital. This is, in my view, an entirely appropriate constraint on the role of the board and its chairperson.

“The fundamental differences between us relate to this core issue and not to any other issues.”