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Private Hospital co-location plan must be scrapped now - Ó Caoláin

12 April, 2007

Responding to news that the Government's plan to provide public hospital land and tax break to the developers of private for-profit hospitals is in trouble, with reported disagreements between Health Minister Mary Harney and HSE Chief Brendan Drumm, and speculation that the proposed ten hospital sites will be reduced to four, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called for the plan to be scrapped now.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This hospital co-location plan has always been totally ill-conceived, developer-driven and designed to worsen the two-tier health system. Now it is turning out to be a complete shambles. The Fianna Fáil/PD Government has ignored calls from across the political spectrum and from throughout the health services not to proceed with the plan. Instead they have bungled on, determined to sign contracts with developers of private for-profit hospitals before the General Election. They have wasted time, energy and public money on this scheme for which they have no mandate. They should cut the losses to the public purse and scrap it now.

"It is an enormous scandal that the Government has relied on this co-location plan to 'deliver' 1,000 of the 3,000 additional acute hospital beds needed. As well as scrapping this disastrous scheme the Government must immediately put in place a proper plan to deliver the required beds in the public system." ENDS

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