Doctor resigns from NMH project board
The former Master of the Coombe Maternity Hospital, Prof Chris Fitzpatrick, has resigned from the project board of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in support of Dr Peter Boylan, who resigned from the NMH board on Thursday.
The hospital's move to the St Vincent's University Hospital campus in south Dublin has been embroiled in controversy since it emerged that the Sisters of Charity are to become the sole owners of it. This is despite the act that the hospital will receive €300 million from the taxpayer.
The Sisters of Charity are one of the organisations included in the Ryan Report, which provided details of widespread institutional abuse going back decades in Ireland. They were ordered to pay the State €128 million as part of a redress scheme for victims of abuse, however, they have so far failed to pay what they owe.
As the new hospital is to be built on a site at St Vincent's University Hospital in south Dublin that is owned by the organisation, and they are the shareholders of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group, they are to be the sole owner of the new maternity hospital.
Anger has been mounting among the public over this issue and Dr Boylan, who is the former Master of the NMH which is currently located at Holles Street, said he believed the ownership structure of the new hospital ‘is completely wrong'.
"It's just not right that a maternity hospital in 2017 in Ireland, 100 years after the foundation of the State, should be transferred from the governance of the maternity hospital to the religious orders of the Sisters of Charity," he insisted.
Dr Boylan was subsequently asked to resign from the NMH board for speaking out against the plans, which he refused to do.
However, following a meeting of the board earlier this week, in which it voted to support the current plans, Dr Boylan decided to resign, stating that he could no longer remain a member of a board ‘which is so blind to the consequences of its decision...and so deaf to the disquiet of the public it serves'.
Prof Fitzpatrick, who had been selected by the HSE to plan the new NMH, has now resigned from the hospital's project board in support of Dr Boylan. He said that he shared Dr Boylan's concerns about the proposed religious ownership and governance of the new hospital.
"What is happening has unfortunate resonances of Dr Noël Browne versus archbishop John Charles McQuaid and the Mother and Child Scheme controversy of the 1950s - and sadly we know how Irish women lost out on that opportunity," he wrote in his resignation note.
[Posted: Fri 28/04/2017]