Sunday 21 January 2018

Concern over private care space in the new facility

Labour TD Alan Kelly Photo: Steve Humphreys
Labour TD Alan Kelly Photo: Steve Humphreys Newsdesk Newsdesk

Opposition politicians have raised concern at plans to allocate space for private practice at the €300m National Maternity Hospital at the St Vincent's campus.

Labour TD Alan Kelly warned that: "Private space should not come at the expense of public patients."

He also said his "priority is for a hospital paid for by the taxpayer to be owned and controlled into the future by the people."

Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly said her view is it's "counter-intuitive to spend public money to facilitate private practice". She added: "We are opposed to using public money to fund or to subvent private heath care."

The Irish Independent revealed that space is to be allocated in the new hospital specifically for doctors to see private patients.

There are five private consultation rooms in a corridor labelled 'private clinics' in the plans.

The NMH defended this, saying that consultants will pay rent for dedicated rooms where they see private patients.

They also pointed out that every room will be single occupancy regardless of whether the patient is public or private.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Simon Harris said that he has "repeatedly emphasised" that protecting taxpayers' money is an "absolute priority" for him. "That continues to be the case and will be the reality when the legal and contractual arrangements are in place," she added.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said contracts are in place with consultants to make sure they deliver both public and private work and these contracts are under continuous scrutiny.

Irish Independent

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