I propose to take Questions Nos. 349 to 352, inclusive, together.
As the Deputy will be aware, following extensive mediation discussions, agreement was reached between the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) on the relocation of the NMH to the Elm Park campus. The terms of this agreement provide for the establishment of a new company which will have clinical and operational, as well as financial and budgetary, independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services.
In line with the Mulvey Agreement, the Board of the proposed National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park DAC will comprise 9 directors; 4 nominated by SVHG, 4 by NMH, and 1 will be an international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology. Given the level of State investment, I have sought, and received, the agreement of both the NMH and St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group that the Board of the new NMH DAC will be competency-based and will include a Public Interest representative. St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group has also confirmed the process by which the Religious Sisters of Charity will withdraw from the Group and transfer their shareholding to a new company St. Vincent’s Holdings CLG. The Sisters have, of course, already resigned from the Group’s Board.
My Department continues to engage with St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the NMH to develop a legal framework to protect the State’s significant investment in the new hospital. St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group has agreed in principle 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 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.