Are We Risking Healthcare Privatisation by Stealth?

May 9, 2016

Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post reported that the Programme for Government contains a clause allowing ‘under-performing hospitals to be taken over by private companies’. That’s concerning.

This kind of provision would effectively allow the Government to push for privatisation by stealth, despite there being no mandate for the privatisation of health in this country.

This revelation is hugely worrying.

Under-performing hospitals are almost always the result of ineffective healthcare policy and funding at national level so to threaten privatisation of those hospitals struggling due to bad Government policy is effectively a means of manufacturing the gradual privatisation of our healthcare despite there being no mandate for such a direction in national health provision.

Just last week tabled a motion calling for cross-party support on the establishment of a single-tier universal healthcare system. That motion now has the support of over 80 TDs including Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féín, Labour, People Before Profit, the Green Party and a number of Independents.

It is quite obvious that Ireland is not in favour of a two-tier health system with privatisation of services at its heart.

Last Friday evening Róisín Shortall approached Minister Simon Harris about our motion and asked him to consider adding Fine Gael to the other 80 plus TDs who had signed it and he agreed to consider it. She said

I was taken aback see Minister Harris on Saturday evening claiming credit for the idea which he purported to be putting forward. The Minister has made quite a fuss in recent days about putting health above party politics but his actions in this instance unfortunately appear to speak louder than his words.