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Sinn Fein opposed to Private Hospital on Grounds of Midwestern Regional Hospital

2 July, 2006

Speaking at confirmation by the HSE that the Mater Private Hospital are considering plans to build a private hospital on the grounds of the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick, Maurice Quinlivan outlined his party's opposition to the proposed plan.

Maurice Quinlivan said: "Confirmation that the Health Service Executive (HSE) is considering a proposal from the Mater Private Hospital to build a Private hospital on the grounds of the Mid Western Hospital in Dooradoyle is a major concern to us. We are not opposed to private hospitals but we are fundamentally opposed to them where public money and assets will be used to assist build them. This will simply lead to an expansion of the already rapidly developing Irish two-tier health service so keenly promoted by Health and Children Minister Mary Harney. There is already a private hospital under construction in Limerick near the Midwestern Hospital. It is questionable in the light of the recent jobs cuts at a private hospital in Galway if there really is the need for this facility. What however is abundantly clear is the need for investment in the public health system. If there is excess space in the grounds of the Mid Western Regional Hospital why isn't it used for Public Nursing Home Spaces which could also be used as a step down facility which would lead to the freeing up of much needed hospitals beds in the public system."

Quinlivan added: "This news follows on from last week‚s report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which showed that Ireland's spend on health is one of the lowest of any developed country. We spend less on average that the 30 developed countries surveyed and we are also in the unfortunate position of having much less hospital beds than the OECD average. What the report highlights and every person in the state already knows only too well is that we urgently need extra hospital beds and a properly resourced public health service.

We don't need to give taxpayers money to private consortiums to develop private profit making hospitals. We need proper investment that will help to improve the health of the people of Limerick. News that a private hospital is being considered by the HSE in the grounds of the regional hospital will come as no surprise from a government obsessed with its privatization agenda. Poorer people die earlier in this country and this must not be allowed to continue. The state has the ability to fund a first class health care system accessible to all. We are opposed to tax breaks and financial incentives to private healthcare providers." Ends

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