Government should nationalise some private hospitals and secure extra capacity now

07 January 2021
  • Beds are rapidly filling and private hospitals have failed to agree terms with HSE.
  • Too little too late again from the government when we need decisiveness

Labour Party Leader, Alan Kelly TD, has called on the Minister for Health to outline exactly what level of capacity is guaranteed available from private hospitals for public use and called on the Government to nationalise the hospitals and secure the extra capacity now as beds rapidly fill.

This comes as over 1,022 people are currently hospitalised due to Covid-19, with 88 in ICU.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The rapid rise in the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 to over 1,022 is gravely concerning. This is a 127% increase in one week.

“We need a clear statement today from Government about what level of capacity is available for State use in the coming weeks within the private hospital network. Terms should have been agreed months ago, we knew cases would spike this winter.

“January is always a bleak time in our health service and this year is no different with our acute hospitals under pressure they have not seen before. Staff in our hospitals are exhausted and concerned about what lies ahead.

“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 fact that our acute hospital system would come under this kind of pressure should have been on the Government’s agenda and extra reinforcements for ICU capacity are surely ready to go.

“The Tánaiste is resorting to the public shaming of private hospitals instead of taking decisive action. Once again it’s a case of too little too late.

“Since the Covid crisis began, the Labour Party has called on the government to consider the nationalisation of some private hospitals to guarantee we have the beds we need to meet the crisis ahead.”

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