St Vincent's Healthcare Group has sought to clarify the reporting structures applying to the master of the National Maternity Hospital after it moves to the St Vincent's campus.
SVHG chairman James Menton said on Monday the master would report to the group clinical director at St Vincent's following its transfer, rather than to the board of the NMH.
Mr Menton was speaking to The Irish Times following the announcement by the Sisters of Charity that they will withdraw from involvement in the hospital group.
However, former NMH master Peter Boylan said the maternity hospital's independence would be impinged if its master had to report to St Vincent's.
A spokesman for SVHG said on Tuesday the requirement for the master to report to structures within St Vincent’s would apply only to her role as clinical director for obstetrics and gynaecology on the Elm Park campus of the hospital.
Otherwise, the master will report to the company to be set up to run the maternity hospital when it moves from Holles Street to St Vincent’s, to be known as the National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park DAC.
The spokesman said this role was set out clearly within the "reserved powers" listed in the agreement between the two hospitals mediated by Kieran Mulvey last November.
These reserved powers provide for clinical and operational independence of the relocated maternity hospital as well as control over financial and budgetary matters.
But Dr Boylan said on Tuesday: “There is nothing in the reserved powers to support the contention the master will report to the NMH board. The Mulvey document is crystal clear that the master reports to the SVHG clinical director – as confirmed by Mr Menton.”
The place of the Sisters of Charity in the SVHG structures is to be taken by a company known as St Vincent’s and the order’s share in SVHG will be transferred to this company for a nominal sum.
The directors of St Vincent’s, who will not be remunerated, will have skillsets in law, finance, healthcare and social care. In the event of its liquidation or wind-up, any surplus assets will be vested with the Charitable Regulator and used for healthcare purposes.
St Vincent's will initially have a "transition board" for up to one year, whose members will include Mr Menton, a former partner in KPMG; Sharen McCabe, managing director of McCabe's Pharmacy Group; John Compton, the former head of the Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland; and Frank O'Riordan, former managing partner of A&L Goodbody.
All four are existing directors of SVHG, and will remain so after stepping down from St Vincent’s once the transition period is over.
The mechanism by which other directors of St Vincent’s will be appointed, and the ultimate ownership of the company, has not been spelled out.