There is a real and genuine public concern that the government will be on the wrong side of history when it comes to the national maternity hospital
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly must publish the legal framework for the new national maternity hospital and bring it before the Dáil before it is signed off by cabinet, according to Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy.
“The HSE board – bar two notable exceptions – has signed off on the legal framework for the new national maternity hospital and there is now a real danger that this deal will be signed off by cabinet before there is any scrutiny of its terms.
“It is striking that the two members of the HSE board who refused to endorse this deal are among those best qualified to interrogate it – Prof Deirdre Madden, a lecturer in medical law and ethics in UCC, and Dr. Sarah McLoughlin, the patient advocate on the board.
“Many others share their concerns. There is a real and genuine public concern that the government will be on the wrong side of history when it comes to the national maternity hospital. Many years after it was first mooted, questions surrounding the ethos and ownership of the proposed new hospital have yet to be satisfactorily answered.
“Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has repeatedly offered assurances that these concerns are misplaced – but he has failed to provide anything other than his own opinion as evidence for this.
“The overarching question remains – why is the State proposing to spend €1 billion on a public hospital that it will hand over to a private entity? On what planet does that make sense?
“Before a secret deal is done behind closed doors, the Minister must now publish the legal framework underpinning this deal and bring it before the Dáil, and the Oireachtas Health Committee, so that it can be scrutinised in detail.
“It would also be useful if Prof Madden and Dr McLoughlin spoke publicly about the reasons they declined to endorse the legal framework and dissented from the HSE Board decision to send the approved framework to cabinet.”
26 April, 2022