Louise O’Reilly TD welcomes Religious Sisters of Charity decision relinquish ownership of St Vincent's Healthcare Group
Speaking this morning Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has welcomed the decision of the Religious Sisters of Charity to relinquish ownership of St Vincent's Healthcare Group, meaning they will not be involved in the ownership or management of the new National Maternity Hospital.
Deputy O’Reilly said:
“I wholeheartedly welcome the decision of the Religious Sisters of Charity to, relinquish ownership of three hospitals they are involved with, St Vincent's University Hospital, St Vincent's Private and St Michael's. The decision also means they will not be involved in the ownership or management of the new National Maternity Hospital.
“The decision is hugely important for a variety or reasons, but most of all; it is hugely significant for patients and particularly for women who will be cared for in any of these hospitals and in the prospective new maternity hospital.
“Indeed, today is a great victory for the grassroots movements and the individuals across the state that protested this decision from the outset and made it clear that the provision of health services should be free of religious interference.
“Similarly, it is a victory for those TDs who supported Sinn Féin’s motion in the Dáil earlier this month calling for the new National Maternity Hospital to be kept wholly in the ownership of the state. The motion sought that the NMH be built on the St Vincent's Hospital campus as quickly as possible, while legally guaranteeing independence from all non-medical influence in its clinical operations.
“The decision today is evidence of what can be achieved when grassroots movements mobilise around a cause and when politics work together for what is right.
“What is now needed is openness and transparency, with the publishing in full of the details of the transfer of ownership and operations so it can be scrutinised by politicians and the public alike.
“While the decision is a step in the right direction, the maternity services in the state need to be significantly improved as they are failing women. We need to see the full implementation of the National Maternity Strategy and a commitment to work with nursing and medical unions in the recruitment and retention of medical staff so that all maternity hospitals meet the ‘birthrate plus’ standard for midwifery staffing, as well as international standards for consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists.
“Finally, today’s decision brings hope to those those of us involved in protesting against religious influence and control of hospitals, it gives us the energy to turn our attention to removing private healthcare from public hospitals and to move to a truly secular public health service where care is based on need and not the ability to pay.”