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Private hospitals co-location plan should be stopped before contracts are signed - McDonald

4 March, 2007

Sinn Féin Dublin Central candidate Mary Lou McDonald MEP has called on the Minister for Health Mary Harney to scrap plans to allocate land at public hospital sites to the developers of private hospitals before contracts are signed and the State is bound by legal agreements. She was responding to reports in today’s newspapers that the final negotiations on private hospitals to be located in the grounds of public hospitals are due to take place this week.

Ms. McDonald said:

"Mary Harney should stop this process now before the State becomes bound by legal contracts which will be signed once tenders are accepted. This government is in its final days of office and has absolutely no mandate for these controversial proposals.

"This issue  goes to the heart of the government’s health policy.  It makes absolutely clear that they are intent on privatizing the health service.  If these proposals go ahead it will meant that the public is massively subsidising the private health industry by allocating land at public hospital sites as well as tax breaks to the developers of private for-profit hospitals. Incredibly the government has absolutely no idea what all of this will cost. But it is clear that it does involve pouring public money into the pockets of millionaires for whom health is just another profitable business.

“Sinn Féin is totally opposed to the privatisation of health services.  We are totally opposed to the gifting of land to private developers to build private for profit hospitals.  We are totally opposed to private developers getting tax breaks. 

“Sinn Féin will continue to campaign against the co-location of private hospitals at public hospital sites and we are planning a series of protests across the state to try and stop this process in the coming weeks.

“We have already made this issue a central plank of our election campaign and we are committed to using our bargaining power after the election to ensure that all health funding is invested in the public system on services that are available to all on the basis of need alone.”ENDS


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