Hospital chief resigned over differences with Minister


THE FORMER chairman of the new national paediatric hospital has said that he stepped down because he could not agree with Minister for Health Mary Harney on a range of important issues.

In further correspondence with the Minister, which was released yesterday by the Department of Health, Philip Lynch said the decision to resign was his own.

He said it had become clear to him that the Minister was “not willing to engage with me on any of my concerns in securing the delivery of a world-class children’s hospital”.

He said that at a meeting on October 1st, Ms Harney had asked him to consider his position as chairman as she felt that matters he had raised were outside of the board’s remit.

“I gave it careful consideration and felt that, if I could not offer constructive criticism, then I had no option but to resign.”

In the newly released letter, dated October 15th, Mr Lynch says a key factor in his decision to step down were remarks made by Ms Harney at the meeting with him about talks he had held with the Crumlin Hospital Foundation, which fundraises for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

“It was you who raised the matter of the foundation at our meeting on October 1 and queried my decision to engage with the foundation. I outlined at our meeting and again in my letter of resignation, dated 5 October, my reasons for engaging with the foundation. It is a key factor in my decision to resign,” the letter noted.

Mr Lynch said his concerns were not limited to the location of the new hospital, planned for a site at the Mater hospital in Dublin.

Among the areas of concern he raised in the letter was a substantial gap in funding for the project, the clarity or absence of governance proposals for the new hospital and planning and design challenges for the Mater site.

“In my opinion, if these concerns are not addressed, the successful delivery of the children’s hospital, wherever it is located, is at serious risk.

“I expected that we could have engaged in these matters in a constructive fashion, particularly at this crucial juncture, and at a time of unprecedented pressure on the public purse.

“On the basis that you were not prepared to address these issues and concerns, I tendered my resignation. I could not allow my name to continue to be associated with a project that would require me to blindly ignore such serious and fundamental concerns.”

Mr Lynch said some of the commentary by the HSE and the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board staff was “most unhelpful and seriously misleading”.