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Co-location based on mirage of 1,000 beds – Ó Caoláin

2 July, 2007

Commenting on the expected awarding by the HSE this week of the contracts for the development of private for-profit hospitals on public hospital sites, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the plan was based on false claims on the part of the Government.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This is a bad week for our health services as the FF/PD/Green Government drives on with its privatisation process. Contracts are to be awarded in the coming days to private healthcare companies to develop private hospitals on prime public hospital sites and with the aid of generous tax breaks. Contracts are expected to be awarded to private operators whose parent corporations are mired in fraud in the United States.

"The whole co-location scheme is based on false claims by the Government that it will 'free up' 1,000 beds in public hospitals when beds currently designated as private are transferred to the co-located private hospitals. However, in replies to Dáil Questions from me just before the General Election, and again last week, the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney was unable to say how many beds would be provided in each of the co-located hospitals. The figure of 1,000 is a mirage which is being used to deceive the public.

"This week the Government and HSE are taking the biggest single step so far towards the privatisation of our health services by opening the door to multinational privateers who operate on the basis of shareholders' profits and not patients' needs. Sinn Féin will continue to oppose health service privatisation and to expose the falsehoods on which it is based." ENDS

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