Two owners of NMH campus would cause 'significant risk' to patients, SVHG to tell Oireachtas

Two owners of NMH campus would cause 'significant risk' to patients, SVHG to tell Oireachtas

James Menton, chair of St Vincent's Healthcare Group is expected to address concerns about the future culture of the new maternity hospital.

St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the new maternity hospital will offer all healthcare options allowed in Ireland, the chair of the group will tell the Oireachtas health committee today.

James Menton’s appearance is the latest in a series of committee hearings in recent weeks to listen to all sides in the contested plan for moving the National Maternity Hospital from Holles Street to share the St Vincent’s Hospital Group (SVHG) campus at Elm Park.

He is expected to address concerns about the future culture of the new maternity hospital and will say having two landowners on the Elm Park campus would not be practical.

He is expected to respond to calls for the section of the campus where the new national maternity hospital will sit to be owned by the State, and say this could cause “significant risk” to patients.

“Culture in all our hospitals is driven by a single focus, to provide the best possible care to our patients,” he will say.

He will describe SVHG as embarking on a “new course”, and that it is a secular body. 

“It is a place that culturally and ethically fully upholds the values and the laws of our Republic,” he will say.

The campus in Dublin already holds St Vincent’s University Hospital, a public hospital, and St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

He is expected to re-iterate having two landowners and two independent hospitals on the site would “make it very difficult if not impossible” to manage.

“The lands at the Elm Park campus have been owned outright by SVHG for 20 years,” he will say.

“Ownership of the Elm Park campus lands is essential to ensure the ongoing provision of the best possible care for all patients.” 

'Significant risks'

He will say that any other arrangement would present “significant risks” to patients.

Under the plans as currently laid out, patients attending the new maternity hospital will have direct access to more than 250 consultants across 50 specialties.

Mr Menton will address concerns the Religious Sisters of Charity could continue to influence healthcare at the new hospital. 

Last month, the order, which founded the original St Vincent's Hospital in 1834, confirmed the final transfer of their shares in the hospital group to a new body called St Vincent Holdings, and said they had no further involvement in the hospital group.

“St Vincent Holdings is the new owner of St Vincent Hospital Group and is a registered Irish charity; a "not-for-profit'" company governed by Irish law,” he will tell the committee.

“It is not a public juridic body and there is no vehicle in the registered constitutions of St Vincent Hospital Group or St Vincent Holdings by which any religious authority or control can be exerted. This is a fact.” 

He will discuss the “multiple protections” to prevent any religious control or authority over the health procedures in the new hospital.

The committee will also hear from two consultants in SVHG, a director with the group and a partner in the law firm which has represented the hospital group in these negotiations.

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