Planning permission granted for NMH
The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanala to grant planning permission for the new National Maternity Hospital on the grounds of St Vincent's University Hospital in south Dublin.
The 244-bed hospital will cater for up to 10,000 births every year. It will replace the current National Maternity Hospital (NMH) at Holles Street, which has long been considered unfit for purpose.
"We all know that the infrastructure at NMH is outdated and we can now look forward to a state-of-the-art hospital where women and their babies will enjoy comfort and privacy in a modern, purpose-built environment," Minister Harris commented.
Earlier this year, it emerged that because the Religious Sisters of Charity owned St Vincent's University Hospital, and as the shareholders of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group (SVHG), they would be the sole owners of the new maternity hospital.
This led to widespread anger among the public and some high profile figures, including the former Master of NMH, Dr Peter Boylan, who described the new ownership structure as ‘completely wrong'.
However following the controversy, the Sisters announced that they would relinquish ownership of three hospitals - St Vincent's University Hospital, where the new maternity hospital is to be built, St Vincent's Private Hospital and St Michael's Hospital.
As a result, they will not be involved in the ownership or management of the new maternity hospital.
Minister Harris noted that there has been ‘intensive and very constructive engagement' between the Department of Health and St Vincent's Healthcare Group over recent months to agree arrangements regarding the building and ownership of the new hospital.
"The Department is now finalising an agreement with St Vincent's and Holles Street, under which it is envisaged that the new hospital building would remain in State ownership. Under the proposed agreement the State would construct and retain ownership of the building.
"The National Maternity Hospital would operate the hospital and have the use of the building for this purpose. Very good progress has been made to date, but some further work is needed to finalise the details of the legal agreement," the Minister said.
[Posted: Fri 01/09/2017]