Fianna Fáil health manifesto shredded by PDs - Harney's private hospitals will reinforce two-tier system - Morgan
Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan has
described as “a fraud” the plan by the Tánaiste and Health Minister
Mary Harney to fund private hospitals on
public hospital sites. He said the Tánaiste’s plan confirms that
Progressive Democrats ideology now totally dominates the Coalition
government and her plan will reinforce the two-tier health system.
Deputy Morgan said:
“The Tánaiste and Minister for Health’s plan is a fraud. The Health
Strategy promised an extra 3,000 beds in public hospitals. These have not
been delivered. Now she proposes to provide massive subsidies, including
valuable land and tax breaks, to the private health business, so that 1,000
private beds currently in public hospitals can be removed to new private
hospitals. But these private beds should not be in public hospitals in the
first place. They should be provided and funded by the private system.
“The Minister claims that it would be too costly for the State to provide
the public hospital beds as promised. But the Government does not know the
cost of its tax breaks for private hospitals – tax breaks that will form
the basis of this new plan. Harney does not know how much her plan will
“With this scheme the Tánaiste has also shredded what’s left of the Fianna
Fáil 2002 General Election manifesto health commitments. That manifesto
claimed it wanted ‘the end of the two-tier health system’. The Tánaiste
yesterday denied that we have a two-tier system.
“This fraudulent plan is also being hatched at a time when the contract for
hospital consultants has still not been renegotiated. A new contract has
been promised since 2001, in order to ensure greater equity for public
patients in hospital care, but no progress has been made. Now more private
hospitals are to be subsidised by the State, allowing many consultants to
continue double-jobbing, with their private patients getting preferential
“The Government should at the very least implement its own health strategy.
Sinn Féin supports a fully funded public health service, with equity of
care for all. Private health is a profitable business that should be