Reilly imposing higher charges for shrinking services – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Fein Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said Health Minister James Reilly is imposing higher charges for shrinking health services and that the Fine Gael/Labour Government’s health policy is “full of contradictions”.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The Health (Amendment) Bill 2013 which has been published by Minister Reilly increases the daily charge for public in-patient services in acute hospitals from €75 to €80 and increases the asset contribution under the so-called ‘Fair Deal’ nursing home scheme from 5% to 7.5%. These increases, arising from Budget 2013, have received little attention.
“The reality is that Minister Reilly is imposing increased charges for shrinking public health services. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has reported an average of 79 patients each day placed in overcrowded and inappropriate environments on inpatient wards, above the stated bed complement of those wards. That is in addition to those on trolleys and chairs in emergency departments.
“It is right that the insurers of private patients should pay the full cost for the use of scarce public beds. But this needs to be seen as an interim measure towards a fully public system with equal access to hospital care for all based on medical need alone.
“The truth is that the health policy of the Fine Gael/Labour Government is full of contradictions. They claim to be aiming for free GP care for all yet they have further restricted access to the medical card.
“They claim to want universal healthcare yet the private health insurance model they favour would see everyone who already pays tax to fund public health services also compelled to pay private health insurance with a significant profit margin for the private insurers.”