Dáil debates

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

1:00 pm

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)

It does not require rocket science to realise that one can provide 1,000 public beds for less than half the cost of building them in the traditional way, yet the Deputy says this does not make sense and suggests we should instead pay €1 million per bed to build the 1,000 beds, which sum we are currently paying.

The public hospitals will either lease or sell the required land and will not invest any money in the beds. At present, the public system is funding the entire cost of the private beds. Patients have to enter a public hospital on the basis of equity and not on the basis of whether one can pay and another cannot. My policy is one of total equity in respect of facilities provided by the taxpayer. We do not have this at present.

Most consultants to whom I have spoken, comprising at least 100 from hospitals around the country, totally support this initiative. They regard it as the most effective way of getting——

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