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Finance Bill fails to ensure equitable provision of Hospice care

6 March, 2008

Sinn Féin TD and Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan has today criticised government attempts to make amendments to the Finance Bill which could see public money being used to fund private for profit hospices and palliative care. Morgan said private health care funding had no place in a public finance bill.

Morgan said:

"We desperately need hospices in this state and any funding that comes from this state for hospices should be for buildings that are available to everyone.

"I commend the service provided by the Hospice Homecare Foundation. I understand and support their call for more units to be developed. However as politicians we have a responsibility to ensure that the funding of such development is provided in such as way as to ensure equitable provision of services and care.

"To put a context on my concerns, I believe government should have learnt a hard lesson from public funding of private nursing homes, specifically after the Lea's Cross scandal. This amendment opens up the possibility of speculators, who want to run private hospices the way private nursing homes have been run in the past, receiving public funding to do so.

"This is an attempt to extend the health privatisation model. This has more to do with boosting - in an in appropriate manner - the construction sector - it is not a genuine attempt to deal with the needs of those who require palliative care. It is on this basis that Sinn Féin opposes this amendment. The money that will be spent on supporting developers to build private facilities for those who can afford to pay should be spent directly on public palliative care facilities." ENDS

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