Ownership structure of new hospital 'completely wrong'

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There will be nine people on the board of the new National Maternity Hospital - four nominated by the St Vincent's Hospital Group which is owned by the Sisters of Charity, four by the current National Maternity Hospital, including the Master, and it will be chaired by an worldwide expert in obstetrics and gynaecology.

"And I think that we should have a situation where a maternity hospital is wholly owned and controlled by the State, and certainly not by a religious institution".

'The new company will have clinical and operational independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services, without religious, ethnic or other distinction, as well as financial and budgetary independence'.

"In doing so, they have foregone the opportunity to put this land to alternative use", he said.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has stood by the decision, tweeting: 'When it comes to our maternity services, I take the views of those responsible for the delivery of infants & the clinical care of women'.

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Update: 9am: Over 50,000 people have signed an online petition in a bid to block the Government from handing ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity.

It was decided the nuns should own the new facility on the St Vincent's campus, but doctors working there should be independent.

Minister Harris said the order has provided the "valuable land" has been donated to the state by the nuns to allow the hospital to be developed there.

I have heard people say that nuns will be running the hospital.

"The decision to grant ownership of the National Maternity Hospital makes a mockery of the supposed neutrality of the Citizens' Assembly", said Workers' Party Cllr.

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"Let me very clear: there will be no financial gain to any religious order from the development of this hospital". Not true. I have heard that nuns will be gifted the hospital. Not true. I have heard people talk about nuns and redress.

"At a time where the Government claims it won't be able to expand the redress scheme because of "huge financial implications for the State" - the refusal of The Sisters of Charity to pay their fair share is even more offensive and damaging to survivors and their families", she said.

Also speaking on Today with Sean O'Rourke, the current Master of National Maternity Hospital Dr Rhona Mahony said that there is a "triple lock" which guarantees the independence of the new hospital.

"Can we get real about this", the leading consultant said. "That is what I intend to do, while absolutely protecting, public health policy, taxpayers' money and the State", he said.

Mr Harris said: "I expect all of these issues to be addressed as part of the detailed contractual arrangements which will be put in place in advance of construction investment".

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The build could only be used for the defined goal of providing public maternity, gynaecological and neonatal services, he said.

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