Latest: Simon Harris asks for more time to ‘tease out’ maternity hospital issues

Update 2.10pm: The Health Minister said he intends to have a discussion at cabinet about the ownership structures of hospitals.

It is after the Sisters of Charity announced it would be divesting its interest in the new national maternity hospital.

However under current plans the state still will not own the hospital, despite paying for it.

Minister Simon Harris said it is one of the issues that still needs to be teased out.

"There are still a number of discussions that need to take place with both hospitals in terms of how do you protect what is a substantial investment by the state.

“There are many different ways that you do that and just like I asked for a period of a month to work with the hospitals to address a number of concerns, I would ask for a little more time to tease out those issues.”

Earlier: There is a warning that the new National Maternity Hospital still will not have clinical independence.

That is despite the fact the Sisters of Charity announced yesterday that it would be divesting its interests in the project and St Vincent's Healthcare Group.

The religious order is to sell the land on which the facility will be built to a new charity called St. Vincent's.

Doctor Peter Boylan (pictured) claims the hospital's new master will be part of a chain of command that ultimately reports to the CEO of the St Vincent's Hospital Group - rather than the maternity hospital's own board.

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil said there needs to be clarity on the charitable status of the new national maternity hospital.

Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Deputy Billy Kelleher said the new charitable status will have to be scrutinised.

“We need to see the legal detail of that to ensure the state’s investment is both recognised and protected.

“The other key area is the issue around corporate governance. We welcome that fact there will be no religious involvement in medical and ethical oversight. That is critically important to ensure that all medical services are available to women.”


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