As hundreds take to the streets, the Social Democrats say it’s time to put ‘public’ back into public hospitals

May 7, 2017

Large numbers of people are due to march this afternoon in Dublin to reiterate the widespread demand that the public should own and control hospitals that they pay for.

Róisín Shortall TD, Social Democrats co-leader who will attend the march today said:

“The Government and the Minister for Health have still not understood that the people who will be paying for our new national maternity hospital will not stand for it being handed over to or controlled by a private group, in particular a private religious group.”

“People are marching today for themselves and for the future generations of women who will use the new national maternity hospital.

“They do not want any doubts or worries about who will get to control the services and treatments available at the hospital. They want their care to be guided by the best science available, not by any fixed ideologies.”

The Social Democrats have raised fundamental questions about the reasons for transferring ownership of the proposed new hospital to a private body; why control of the board should be given to St Vincent’s Healthcare Group; and the lack of clinical independence.  Deputy Shortall has also highlighted the constitutional protection accorded to religious bodies which would be likely to supersede any so-called safeguards which the Minister may claim to put in place.

“The Minister for Health has asked for a month to give him a chance to get to grips with the crisis facing him.  He doesn’t need a month. If he takes ten minutes to read the report which lays out how the new national maternity hospital will be run, he should realise that the whole thing is unworkable.

“If the citizens of Ireland are to spend €300 million or more on a new National Maternity Hospital, they should own it” concluded Deputy Shortall.

[ENDS]

7th May 2017