I thank the Chairman for the opportunity to meet the committee this afternoon. I act as chair of St. Vincent's Healthcare Group and was a founding director of St. Vincent's Holdings. I am joined today, as the Chair eloquently outlined, by Dr. John Holian, Ms Imelda Reynolds, Professor Janice Walshe and Mr. DonaI O'Raghallaigh.
Everyone at St. Vincent's Healthcare Group believes that Ireland is on the verge of an historic decision about the future of women's healthcare. It is historic with regard to infrastructure development with all the positive and badly needed new facilities that will be delivered with it. The relocation of the National Maternity Hospital to the Elm Park healthcare campus is a key part of the Government's maternity strategy. We are proud to be a partner and play our part in what will be, when operational, a complete transformation of maternity and neonatal care, not only in Dublin but also as a national care centre. From our perspective, the transformation of maternity care services, of which the proposed transfer of the National Maternity Hospital to our Elm Park campus is one part, coincides with and is in part facilitated by the complete transformation of St. Vincent's Healthcare Group after over 175 years of ownership by the Religious Sisters of Charity, RSC. The April 2022 transfer of the RSC's St. Vincent's Healthcare Group shareholding to St. Vincent's Holdings, our new shareholder, was the last formal step in the reaching the board's objective of becoming a truly secular organisation free of any religious influence. The board was determined to achieve this objective and we have done so.
St. Vincent's Holdings is the new owner of SVHG and is a registered Irish charity. It is a not-for-profit company governed by Irish law. It is not a public juridic body and there is no vehicle in the registered constitutions of either company by which any religious authority or control can be exerted. That is a fact. It is also a fact that the RSC transferred its shares to St. Vincent's Holdings without any conditions requiring the practice of any Catholic ethics or any other religious ethos. SVHG is also a registered Irish charity. It is a not-for-profit company governed by Irish law. Our purpose and vision are to be a valuable part of an Irish healthcare system that achieves the best outcomes for patients and their families, to be known for the highest standards of patient care, clinical excellence, medical research and staff education, and to remain a voluntary, independent group that invests all our funds in the treatment and care of our patients. As a not-for-profit company with charitable status, all our funds are reinvested in the treatment and care of our patients.
St. Vincent's Healthcare Group is a secular organisation. The hospital has no religious ethos. Services have been and will continue to be delivered in accordance with best international medical practice, compliant with the laws of the Ireland and to people of all faiths and none. Multiple protections are in place to ensure no religious authority or control can be exerted. Our founding values are dignity, compassion, justice, equality and advocacy. These values are found in many institutions across the world and cannot be interpreted as any attempt to directly or indirectly impose a Catholic ethos. There were many references to our culture in committee meetings last week. Culture in all three of our hospitals is driven by a single focus, namely, to provide the best possible care for all of our patients.
We were approached by Government to become a partner with it and the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, in the relocation of maternity services to the Elm Park campus. The opportunity to assist in the provision of world-class maternity and neonatal healthcare, together with our long-standing working relationship with Holles Street, informed our decision to support and partner on this 21st century project. The new national maternity hospital facility will be located in the centre of our campus and will be physically integrated with our university hospital to ensure the best and seamless care for high-risk and pregnant women. The seamless care to national maternity hospital patients will be provided by ready access to over 250 consultants covering more than 50 healthcare specialties. The lands at the Elm Park campus have been owned outright by St. Vincent's Healthcare Group for 20 years. Two landowners, and thus two separate independent hospitals, would make it very difficult, if not impossible, to manage the Elm Park campus and would also present significant risks to patient care. The Mulvey agreement, which was a mediation agreement between all three parties, noted this important principle.
The important decision about to be made about the building of the national maternity hospital on the Elm Park campus is a political decision but involves the essential co-operation and agreement of the two voluntary hospitals involved. We hope our presence today will assist members as legislators. St. Vincent's Healthcare Group has embarked on a new course. It is lay and secular. It is a healthcare organisation which will hopefully soon welcome the national maternity hospital to our Elm Park campus. It is a place that culturally and ethically fully upholds the values and laws of our Republic. I thank the committee.