Wednesday, 26 April 2006
Liz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
The board of governors of St. Patrick's Hospital will be surprised that it is a for-profit organisation. Is the Minister not taking on board the fact that, overall, there was widespread criticism of her proposal, not just from the IMO but also from others? Does she not need to listen to this? Will she indicate what research she has carried out to justify what appears to everybody else to be a top-of-the-head kind of proposal?
Does the Minister not accept that international evidence indicates that for-profit hospitals are more costly and do not have outcomes as good as those in public hospitals? Will she indicate how she can justify the diversion of so much public money into private hands? The hospitals in question are not private, they are publicly funded for-profit hospitals. Does the Minister not accept that by saying the State will have no management role in these hospitals, although it is funding them to a great degree, she is exposing a weakness in her argument? Whatever happens in those hospitals will be determined largely by the desire to make profit rather than anything else.
Does the Minister not feel at this stage that it is important to circulate among the public evidence to back her claims and to agree to take on board and consider carefully the criticisms that have been made, not only those of the medical profession but also those of economists, who reckon the proposal will cause more problems in the health service than exist at present?