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Privatisation of health service ‘an utterly regressive step’ – Ó Caoláin

6 November, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin TD and Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has expressed his disbelief that the government are considering opening up more of the health service to privatisation, saying that this would directly add costs to Irish families who are already struggling to cope with the unfair policies of this government.

The Cavan/Monaghan deputy’s comments come after Minister for Health Leo Varadkar made a speech saying that underperforming hospitals would be opened up to the market.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“This government, faced with the enormity of the challenge of dealing with this crisis, have utterly failed in their obligation to alleviate the suffering caused by a health system in tatters.  Efforts by the government to-date have amounted to little more than a stand still response, holding things as they have been rather than investing and resourcing the identified needs of our health service.

“The latest fanciful notion from this government is that hospitals which ‘consistently underperform’ would see their management passed over to a private operator. I am aghast to think of how this would affect patients who would now be at the mercy of a profit margin.

“The Minister also wished to ‘incentivise’ hospitals to do more work. This would suggest that the overstretched men and women in our hospitals could be induced to do more for our health service. This is simply not true; as the nurses in St. Vincent’s have been forced to take industrial action to highlight.

“Our public health service is severely under resourced and requires a commitment not only of a new investment, but to the public ownership model itself and this seems not to be forthcoming from Fine Gael and even more disgracefully from the so-called Labour Party.

“Sinn Féin is committed to the realisation of a world-class system of universal health care that is accessed on the basis of need, free at the point of delivery, and funded by progressive taxation for the Irish state. We believe there is no greater good worth striving for.” 

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