Has the Minister for Health guaranteed supply of beds from private hospitals?
- Private hospital capacity must be on standby as Covid cases increase
- Nationalisation of some private hospital capacity must be an option to deal with Covid surge.
- Certainly needed that private beds will be made available.
With the number of hospitalisations from Covid-19 rapidly increasing, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly has called for assurances from the government that extra capacity will be available and on standby in the private sector if needed, called on the Minister to guarantee that supply will be available and for the government to reconsider the option of nationalisation.
Deputy Kelly said:
“The Minister for Health must clarify if he has guaranteed the supply of extra beds from private hospitals as COVID cases and the hospitalisation rate rapidly increase.
“Record Covid-19 numbers today in Northern Ireland, following last night’s record numbers here show the urgent need to prepare our acute hospital system for the weeks ahead. At the beginning of December it was reported that private hospitals were unlikely to agree to a deal with the HSE to allow access to 40% of their capacity over the next two years.
“With January always a critical time for our hospitals the government must assure us that extra capacity will be available and on standby in the private hospital sector if needed. We have no further information on where we stand on a revised deal to secure private bed capacity but as Covid-19 cases mount the Minister for Health must guarantee us that extra beds will be secured.
“The rapid rise in the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 to over 450 today up from just over 400 yesterday, alongside an increase in those needing critical care shows the need to have extra capacity on hand as cases mount.
“Even with new restrictions it is clear the impact of Covid-19 will get worse before it improves as people limit their interactions.
“Since the start of this pandemic I have called for the nationalisation of private hospitals to rapidly expand our national health system. As pressure mounts on acute hospitals the government must be prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure we have enough bed capacity.”