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Fianna Fáil attempting to fool electorate - Ó Caoláin

11 May, 2007


Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has accused Fianna Fáil of trying to fool the electorate in their bid to privatise the health services. Deputy Ó Caoláin was speaking today after Fianna Fáil claimed the only way to provide extra hospital beds was throught the Government's flawed co-location plan. However, Deputy Ó Caoláin said Health Minister Mary Harney admitted that she actually does not know how many beds will be provided for the public system under the co-location scheme, in a reply to a parlaimentary question which he posed.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said today, "Health Minister Mary Harney, in a reply to a parlaimentary question which I posed, admitted that she actually has no idea how many beds will be freed up for the public system under the Government
proposed co-location scheme. Yet this morning Fianna Fáil have yet again claimed that the only way to free up hospital beds is the co-location plan. They are clearly trying to fool the electorate as they continue in their determination to privatise the health services.

"The co-location plan proposed by the Government parties is designed to reinforce the unequal two-tier health system. By providing land at public hospitals for private for profit hospitals along with tax breaks the Government is pumping public money into the private system for the sole benefit of those who can afford it rather than those who need it.

"Sinn Féin in Government will establish a fully funded public health system, free at the point of delivery and on the basis of need alone. We will provide the extra three thousand hospital beds required for the public system and we will fund all of this through general, fair and progressive taxation.

"What we will not do is attempt to fool the electorate with promises of massive tax cuts along with increased and improved public services." ENDS

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:

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

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

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

Performance Management requirements and documented service level agreements;

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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