From top: The former Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dr. Peter Boylan; NMH chairman Nicholas Kearns and From left: Kay Connolly, Chief Operating Officer of St Vincent’s Hospital, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and Dr Rhona Mahony Master, National Maternity Hospital with a model of St Vincents University Hospital.
This morning on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Sean O’Rourke the handover of the ownership of the National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity was discussed.
Rhona Mahony, Master of Holles Street, and Nicholas Kearns, chairman of the National Maternity Hospital defended the decision and addressed criticism from former Master of Holles Street Dr Peter Boylan
Sean O’Rourke: “The concern over the ownership and governance of the new National Maternity Hospital to be located at St Vincent’s Hospital at Elm Park, continues to grow. The new Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has said the hospital will have complete clinical, financial, budgetary and operational independence, however on Morning Ireland earlier, the former Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dr Peter Boylan, said that in his view it’s inappropriate for the State to invest 300 million Euro of taxpayers’ money into a new maternity hospital that would have a strong religious influence.
With me now in studio are the current Master of Holles Street Dr Rhona Mahony and the Chair of the Hospital Board or he’s de facto the Chair, former President of the High Court Nicholas Kearns who both represented Holles St in the negotiations with St Vincent’s Hospital. Good morning to you both, you’re both very welcome to the studio. First of all, Mr Kearns, are you surprised by the controversy that has engulfed this move .. several weeks, a couple of months after it was announced?”
Nicholas Kearns: “Very surprised. In Holles Street we are surprised and disappointed in particular by Dr Boylan’s late intervention in such a public way in this whole matter, it’s very difficult for us to understand, he’s a serving member of the Board, a board which voted by an overwhelming majority to approve this agreement, this is in a sense nothing new, the idea of moving to the campus in Elm Park has been there since 2003, through all these years that followed Dr Boylan has been working in the hospital up to his retirement last year, the proposal has been there, nothing has been changed, when these latest round of negotiations began in 2016 we spent up to six months battling for exactly the kind of independence and safety of the ethos and practice of Holles St we could possibly obtain and we are satisfied and I am satisfied, Sean, as a lawyer that the arrangements we have put in place for independence are legally accurate and sound.”
O’Rourke: “And that agreement, has it been published?”
Kearns: “The full terms of it have not been published, this was an exercise conducted on a confidential basis throughout by [workplace mediator] Kieran Mulvey.”
O’Rourke: “At this stage might help if the whole thing was published and put out there and people could decide.”
Kearns: “In effect, the Minister has disclosed the key elements in these reserved powers and I was frankly surprised that people are not reassured by the binding nature of these reserved powers, can I just run through them quickly? Firstly, as one of the main objectives for the agreement it provides that under this arrangement the new company, the hospital in Elm Park, will provide a range of health services in the community as heretofore, such operation and provision to be conducted in accordance with the newly agreed clinical governance arrangements for the National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park by providing as far as possible by whatever manner and means from time to time available for the health happiness and welfare of those accepted as patients without religious or ethnic or other distinction and by supporting the work of all involved in the delivery of care to such patients and their families or guardians including research or investigation which may further such work. Now just very quickly the reserved powers and then I’ll stop. Continue reading