The National Maternity Hospital project

 

Sir, – As consultants working at the National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital, we write to acknowledge the significance of the decision by the Religious Sisters of Charity to transfer ownership of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to a new independent charitable body, St Vincent’s Holding CLG. As healthcare providers, we would like to recognise the huge contribution the Religious Sisters of Charity have made to Irish healthcare during their 186-year involvement with St Vincent’s.

This transfer of ownership will now facilitate the construction of the new National Maternity Hospital at the Elm Park campus in Dublin without delay. The current National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street is not fit for purpose and does not and will not adequately serve the women and infants of Ireland into the future.

In contrast, the new hospital will be a state-of-the-art building, providing a major advance in the provision of patient care. Its location on the campus of an internationally renowned acute adult tertiary hospital will mean a very wide range of specialist services are available to our patients when required.

As consultants who already work together, we are hugely excited by the clinical benefits that will accrue for our patients from the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital onto the St Vincent’s University Hospital campus.

The Mulvey agreement of 2016 clearly states that the new National Maternity Hospital will have full clinical, operational and financial independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecological and neonatal services (without religious, ethnic or other distinction). This is copper-fastened by the existing National Maternity Hospital Chartered Entity nominating four of the directors to the NMH DAC (designated activity company), including the inaugural chair and the nomination of the Master for appointment by the NMH DAC.

As consultants who currently practice in both the National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital, we are entirely satisfied that our clinical independence shall remain unfettered under the Mulvey agreement.

The National Maternity Hospital project remains a key Government priority. We would like to thank the HSE, Department of Health and Government for their support to date and call on the incoming government to fully commit itself to the urgent progression of this project, which is the most important infrastructural development for women’s health in the history of the State. – Yours, etc,

Prof SHANE HIGGINS,

Master, National Maternity

Hospital (NMH);

Prof RHONA MAHONY,

Master, NMH 2012-2018;

Dr MICHAEL ROBSON,

Master, NMH 2005-2011;

Prof DECLAN KEANE,

Master, NMH 1998-2004;

Prof MICHAEL KEANE,

Group Clinical Director,

St Vincent’s Hospital

Group (SVHG), and

Dean of Medicine, UCD;

Prof ALAN WATSON,

Clinical Director,

Medicine and

Emergency

Medicine, SVHG;

Mr STEPHEN SHEEHAN,

Clinical Director,

Surgery and Anaesthesia, SVHG, Dublin 4.

Sir, – The most extraordinary aspect of the handing over of land by the Catholic Church for the new maternity hospital is how the church would knowingly, with the consent of Rome, the Dublin diocese and the religious order of nuns, agree to facilitate in any way an institution that carries out abortions. Such a U-turn has left me puzzled as to where the church stands on the abortion question. – Yours, etc,

SEAN FOX,

Dublin 3.