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Harney forcing through private for-profit hospital co-location – Ó Caoláin

29 March, 2007


Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the Minister for Health Mary Harney is forcing through her private for-profit hospital co-location plan against widespread opposition. He was reacting to the Minister's reply to his Dail Question in which the Minister states that the Invitation to Tender for the private hospitals "will issue in the next few days".

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Health Minister Mary Harney in answer to a Dáil Question from me has stated that the Invitation to Tender for the private for-profit hospitals on public hospital sites will issue in the next few days. This will be followed by the signing of contracts.

"This plan is being railroaded through against widespread opposition from people in the front line of the health services and from the public in the dying days of this Government and with no mandate whatsoever.

"The contracts with these private profiteers will not come before the Oireachtas for scrutiny. Instead the Government is tying the hands of the State with contracts to benefit private profiteers and to reinforce the two-tier health system.

"In her reply the Minister states that the private hospitals will be required to have the ability to admit private patients directly from GPs on a 24/7 basis. Public hospitals do not have that ability because the essential additional beds have not been provided by this Government. Now the Government wants to enhance the fast-track for private patients to private hospitals while public patients must languish in accident and emergency units.

"Instead of wasting public money on this disgraceful plan the Government should be using those resources to supply the additional 3,000 beds required in the public system, with equal access for all patients, based on need alone."

Dail Record 28.3.07

158. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if, with regard to the private for profit hospital co-location plan, the competitive dialogue phase of the process with the Health Service Executive and the relevant hospitals has been completed; the core requirements identified in respect of each public hospital site involved in the scheme; if preferred bidders have been invited to tender to build and operate private hospitals; the specifications which have been determined in each case; if invitations to tender have issued; if guidelines for contracts or draft contracts have been drawn up in her Department or by the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11800/07]

Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): The Health Service Executive is currently engaged in a public procurement process in relation to the co-location of private hospitals on the sites of public hospitals. I understand that the competitive dialogue stage of the process has been completed and that the Invitation to Tender will issue in the next few days.

The Health Service Executive is currently engaged in a public procurement process in relation to the co-location of private hospitals on the sites of public hospitals. I understand that the competitive dialogue stage of the process has been completed and that the Invitation to Tender will issue in the next few days.

The core requirement of a co-located hospital will be to treat the private patients that are currently receiving treatment in the public hospital. The minimum requirements a co-located hospital must provide include:

Ø Ability to admit private patients directly from public hospital Emergency Departments, primary care centres and GPs on a 24/7 basis;

Ø Capacity to treat all private patients currently catered for in the public hospital;

Ø Joint Clinical Governance between the public hospital and the co-located hospital;

Ø Performance Management requirements and documented service level agreements;

Ø Shared Information and Records Management.

Selected bidders must confirm their ability to meet these requirements before progressing to the invitation to tender stage of the procurement process. There will be full adherence to public procurement law and best practice. There will be a rigorous value for money assessment of all proposals. Any transaction will be on a commercial basis and will fully protect the public interest.

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