Third master raises NMH fears

The Sunday Times

Justine McCarthy and Colin Coyle
April 30 2017
The Sunday Times

A former master of the Rotunda Hospital has said the state is “wrong” to grant ownership of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) to the Religious Sisters of Charity, and fears it could set a precedent for Dublin’s other maternity hospitals.

Michael Darling, a member of the Rotunda’s board of governors, is the third former master of a Dublin maternity hospital to warn against allowing the nuns to own the €300m hospital when it is built in the grounds of St Vincent’s University Hospital.

“I am concerned and I do feel strongly about this,” said Darling. “Regardless of the reassurances that have been given, it is not a cut-and-dried arrangement. There is a grey area about the governance. The provision in the agreement for a golden share [for the minister for health] suggests to me people are aware it is not as clear-cut as it should be, and this is a mechanism to appease them.

“This should have been simple. You have an NMH which works well, but its physical structures are inadequate and it drastically needs to be modernised. A good solution is to have it adjacent to a general hospital but I don’t see why it can’t be moved with its present governance. I believe ownership of the new hospital should be given to the NMH.”

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