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Co-located Hospitals and the Health Service

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As is evident from your letters' page, opposition to co-locating private with public hospitals refuses to go away.

It was clear before the general election that key ministers had no idea about the cost of co-location. Furthermore, the Minister for Finance, who should know better, seemed to equate its cost with the the level of tax foregone. Conveniently, he ignored the ongoing costs that will arise due to duplication of activities and resources, the operation of two separate management systems on the same site and, most critically the premium needed to cover future profits of the developers of the co-located hospitals.

In the long run, these items will be far more significant than the initial tax breaks. In addition, private health insurance subscribers will face substantial additional premiums and, at the same time, public hospitals will encounter substantial reductions in revenue to be funded by taxpayers. This is classic "lose-lose" rather than "win-win".

The Government's mandate has been to fix the health service - not to break it by allowing the private sector to selectively cherry-pick profitable niches. Valuable time and MANY LIVES have been lost as a consequence of the single-minded pursuit of this ideologically-driven approach and the opportunity to develop a single-tier, public system could be lost for at least a generation.

Instead of pursuing privatisation by stealth and hiding behind task forces and reports, the Government should, even at this late stage, ditch this warped PD ideology and start tackling the very real and obvious issues linked to management, staffing and resources. If this had been done much earlier in the ten-year life of this government, we could have reached, by now, a situation where the end of waiting lists would be in sight and the need for private heath insurance as a method of queue jumping would have diminished.

Letter published in the Irish Times on 24th November 2007.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian published on November 23, 2007 6:06 PM.

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