I propose to take Questions Nos. 1767 and 1776 together.
My Department continues to engage with St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the National Maternity Hospital to develop a legal framework to protect the State’s significant investment in the new maternity hospital on the St Vincent's University Hospital campus. St Vincent’s Healthcare Group has agreed to provide the State with a 99-year lease of the land upon which the new maternity hospital will be built, and this will allow the State to retain ownership of the new facility. The State will, in turn, provide an Operating Licence to the NMH DAC and the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group to enable the provision of health services in the newly constructed building.
The overall framework being put in place will unequivocally copper-fasten the principle that patient care in the new hospital will be delivered without religious, ethnic or other distinction and that any medical procedure which is in accordance with the laws of the land will be carried out there.