Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Health): Statements
Simon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
I am open to correction but I believe the risk assessment was done by the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission. I did not carry it out but I hope the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission will make it available to Members if it has not already done so.
The point the Deputy made about deaths because of but not of Covid-19 is a serious and accurate one. This will be a major challenge for all of us. While I am growing in optimism that we will get through this Covid-19 pandemic, I am not ignoring the awful loss of life and pain it has caused. Our next big challenge will be secondary morbidity and there is a huge body of work we need to do on that.
On the private hospitals, we effectively took them over for a purpose. If that purpose changes, we have to be big and brave enough to change as well. I have an open mind on that. There is a structured review process to go through that will involve more than my Department. It will involve the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and others. It will start at the end of this month and run until the end of June. I will approach that with an open mind. However, we will need extra capacity. How we use that capacity is a discussion we should have.