A Nama spokesman said it could no longer use taxpayers’ money to fund “unsustainable” losses at the private facility. He also confirmed that neither the HSE nor the Department of Health were willing to take on the facility once the extent of its problems had been established.
“The hospital has been incurring significant losses since Nama acquired the loans in 2010,” the spokesman said. “These losses have been funded by Nama while it has sought, in conjunction with the debtor, to put in place arrangements which would enable the hospital to operate on a viable basis. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to formulate such arrangements.”
He said there had been “extensive” marketing of the hospital during 2013 and into this year and “prolonged” engagement with various potential purchasers but a sale at an “acceptable” price had not been possible.
“After reviewing detailed financial and operational data relating to the hospital, the Department of Health informed Nama on Dec 11 that neither it nor the HSE proposed to enter into discussions with a view to purchasing it.
“Given that Nama’s primary objective is to obtain the best possible financial outcome for the taxpayer and given that the sale is not proceeding, Nama has decided it can no longer continue to fund unsustainable losses at the hospital.”
Property developer Gerry Conlan bought Mount Carmel from the Little Company of Mary Sisters in 2006. He used a €65m loan from AIB to fund the purchase.
All patients currently in Mount Carmel will continue to be treated there, according to the joint provisional liquidators appointed to the hospital, Declan Taite and Anne O’Dwyer of RSM Farrell Grant Sparks. They also said obstetrics patients scheduled over the coming days will also be “fully cared for”. Those patients will be contacted by phone to confirm arrangements.
“It is envisaged that obstetrics patients who are booked into Mount Carmel for maternity services in the weeks and months ahead will be transferred to alternative maternity hospitals,” the liquidators said. “The joint provisional liquidators will work closely with the HSE as part of this transition. All of these patients will be contacted to facilitate alternative arrangements.”
Last night, the National Maternity Hospital issued a statement saying it wanted to reassure patients who were due to give birth at Mount Carmel that it would be “happy and willing” to assist as appropriate to ensure their babies were delivered.
“The hospital has been in contact with lead clinicians at Mount Carmel over recent months discussing contingency plans to be put into action in the event of this situation arising, and so while this is an emergency situation it is not unanticipated. We are continuing to engage closely with Mount Carmel to assist with contingency arrangements,” it said. “There has been a reconfiguration of many of our facilities in recent months which will help us to manage this situation.
“Mount Carmel consultants will continue to be directly involved in the care of their patients throughout this period, and they will be contacted in the coming week to allow suitable arrangements to be made.”
There will be no more elective surgical procedures carried out at Mount Carmel. Those patients awaiting such procedures will be contacted over the coming days.