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Private labs leeching millions from the Irish people - Reilly

11 October, 2006

Private laboratories are making millions testing blood for public hospitals according to Sinn Féin's Meath West general election candidate Cllr Joe Reilly. Cllr Reilly has revealed that in one hospital in Navan, nearly €1 million per annum is being spent sending samples to private laboratories because of a refusal by the HSE to hire laboratory technicians. Describing this, and evidence of similar practice in Drogheda Hospital, as 'further evidence of a government a failed privatisation ideology', Cllr Reilly called on the Minster for Health to hire the needed staff immediately.

The Meath West general election candidate said: "It was brought to my attention, and that of my colleague Deputy Morgan, by people working in the health service of the refusal by the HSE to employ badly needed staff in both Navan and Drogheda laboratories.

"I was shocked to discover, in response to a question I put to the Dublin/North East HSE Forum that Our Lady's Hospital in Navan spends an average of €18,000 per week, the equivalent of nearly €1m per annum on sending blood samples to external private laboratories.

"Deputy Morgan discovered that an average of €75,000 a month is spent in just one of the three departments dealing with blood sampling at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda on sending samples to private laboratories. The total bill for testing blood samples for the whole state must run into a staggering figure of millions.

"I am appalled that the HSE is refusing to hire the two or three additional technicians that would be required but is instead happy to put well over a million Euros per annum into the pockets of private health companies. These private laboratories are leeching millions from the Irish people. GPs in Meath have confirmed that the new, privatised service, is completely inadequate with a reduction in the frequency of collections of blood samples and have complained to the HSE.

"My colleague, the party Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has put a Dáil question to the Minister for Health and Children to ascertain the spread of this problem. It is further evidence of a government fanatically and blindly committed to a failed privatisation ideology that is more expensive and inefficient compared to the public health sector. I am calling on the Minister and the HSE to hire new staff immediately so that a better service can be delivered at less cost to the taxpayer."


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