18 October 2016

Labour Spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly, has called on the Government to consider measures to allow private hospital facilities to be used by the State this winter in the event of a flu epidemic.

It’s after the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, under questioning from Deputy Kelly in the Dáil, agreed it was a good idea to consider this option.

Deputy Kelly said:

“It’s immoral that there are private hospitals advertising for emergency department patients, almost rolling out the red carpets while neighbouring public hospitals are overcrowded with patients lying on trolleys in some cases for days.

The Minister has to consider measures to ensure these private hospital facilities are utilised by the state so that people are not left suffering

If he doesn’t, and we have a flu epidemic this winter, people will die on trolleys.

It’s totally immoral to say that a 90-year-old woman should wait for a day on a trolley in somewhere like the Mater while a hundred yards down the road an executive will be see almost immediately in the Mater Private.

During periods of excessive demand these hospitals have to be utilised by public patients and the Minister has acknowledged that this is something that should be looked at and I welcome that. However, it’s no good to those facing into a harsh winter, it needs to happen soon.

Some may say this is an ideological debate as to whether these private hospital facilities should be opened up and they’re right it is. The common good should always out trump the rights of private funds where there is a crisis. This has happened before in relation to a number of financial measures that were put forward such as the levy on private pensions. Furthermore private banking debt was socialised by the taxpayer over the last six years.

We now are facing into another emergency and its time the state socialised the lack of adequate emergency department infrastructure and personnel by utilising the private hospitals capacity in this area this winter.”



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