Re: Re: well what about the developments popping up in the shannonside ?

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Medical Care Sector

Private hospital ‘set for Regional site’ Limerick Leader

By NORMA PRENDIVILLE and MARTIN BYRNES 24 March 2007

LIMERICK could have yet another private hospital within three years, built on the same grounds as the Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle, if the Government’s private hospital initiative takes off.

Later this week, the Minister for Health, Mary Harney, is expected to name the eight hospitals around the country where private hospitals will co-exist on public hospital grounds and, according to the PD’s Senator Michael Brennan, the Mid-West Regional Hospital is on the list.

The HSE (Mid-West) declined to name the consortiums which have made a bid for the Dooradoyle site, saying the tendering process was not yet complete. But Minister Harney is expected to name the successful bidders and, according to her party colleague, Sen Brennan, she has promised there will be no “sweet-heart” deals.

The private or “independent” hospital initiative has been the focus of Opposition anger in the Dail this week but Sen Brennan has strongly defended it and has condemned the Labour Party in particular for threatening to halt the scheme.

“It seems to me that Pat Rabbitte’s Labour Party is opposing private hospitals just for the sake of it. Maybe they would also like to close the National Treatment Purchase Fund and ban the State from purchasing badly-needed treatments for 50,000 public patients who used to wait very long times.”

Senator Brennan said it was high time to start changing the system of reserved, subsidised private beds in publicly-funded hospitals.

“When the private sector is willing to finance the facilities, to manage the service, and to fund the running costs 100 per cent, why stop it? What compelling reason is there for the state to insist that the public sector must pay all the capital cost of reserved private beds in public hospitals and more than half of the running costs?” he demanded.

But Labour’s Jan O’Sullivan has hit back, arguing strenuously that “none of these contracts should be signed in advance of a general election”. “We don’t believe any of them should be rushed through,” she said. “As far as we are concerned, it is pushing the two-tier health system even further down the road.”

The health system should be about treating people on the basis of need, not on the basis of money, Deputy O’Sullivan argued and she questioned the use of tax-breaks to finance the further development of a two-tier system.

She had particular concerns about the Limerick proposal, she said, pointing out that there had been plans at different stages to locate a new Maternity Hospital and/or a new orthopaedic unit on the site. It was vital to retain sufficient land for public hospital needs, she argued.

But Sen Brennan has countered that the proposed deals will benefit the public sector. “The lease of land will be on fully commercial terms. No public land will be given away.

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