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Drumm comments show need for co-location to be scrapped – Ó Caoláin

13 June, 2007

Greens urged to reject Programme if it does not scrap co-location

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said the comments of HSE Chief Brendan Drumm describing co-location as 'competition' for the public hospital service showed the need for the plan to be scrapped. Deputy Ó Caoláin urged delegates to the Green Party conference today to reject the proposed Programme for Government if its does not totally scrap the co-location plan.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "I would urge delegates to the Green Party conference to reject the proposed Programme for Government if it does not totally dispense with the co-location plan. The Green Party Election Manifesto is committed to 'scrap immediately the decision to subsidise building of private hospitals on public land'. This commitment should be honoured.

"HSE Chief Brendan Drumm has now stated that he sees co-location as a competitor to the public hospital system and that we should be 'glad of competition'. This totally contradicts the claims of Bertie Ahern and Mary Harney that co-location would complement the public hospital system. They have claimed that it would 'free up' 1,000 additional beds in public hospitals. Brendan Drumm says additional beds are not needed. Minister Harney was unable to tell us in the Dáil how many beds would be provided in each of the co-located hospitals - totally belying the promise of 1,000 beds.

"The concept of competition in hospital services is an obscenity. Healthcare is not a commodity like cars or beauty products. It is a vital public service to which everyone is entitled based on need and need alone. Co-location sees the government using public money and public land to subsidise the private for-profit healthcare industry, reinforcing the two-tier system.

"The whole scheme is a mess and should be consigned to the dustbin right at the start of the 30th Dáil." ENDS

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