Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Ceisteanna (209)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

209. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the status of the new national maternity hospital to be co-located at the St. Vincent’s University Hospital site; if he has been contacted by the Vatican or the religious orders on matters in relation to the hospital; if so, their response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51954/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is fully committed to the development of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) on the campus of St Vincent’s University Hospital at Elm Park. As such, this project is encompassed within Project Ireland 2040, as well as the HSE Capital Plan 2019-2021.

My Department continues to engage with the NMH and St Vincent's Healthcare Group (SVHG) to develop a legal framework to protect the State’s significant investment in the new hospital. SVHG 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 SVHG to enable the provision of health services in the newly constructed building.

Construction work commenced on site earlier this year on the new pharmacy and the car park extension and these works will be completed in 2020. However, the tender documents for the construction of the new maternity hospital will not issue until such time as the legal framework is agreed.

The governance arrangements for the new NMH will be based on the provisions of the Mulvey Agreement. That Agreement provides for the establishment of a new company - National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park DAC - which will have clinical and operational, as well as financial and budgetary independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services. The Agreement ensures that a full range of health services will be available at the new hospital without religious, ethnic or other distinction.

While my Department has not had any engagement with the Religious Sisters of Charity or the Vatican, at a recent meeting the Chair of SVHG provided an update to my Department in relation to the transfer, by the Religious Sisters of Charity, of their shareholding in SVHG. I am advised that the Sisters have requested the Vatican to approve their decision to transfer their shareholding and they are confident that such approval will be forthcoming.