Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher has warned against FG plans to create independent hospital trusts.

An agenda of commercialisation and privatisation for the public hospital system is the clear future if Fine Gael stays in charge of health care.

“Fine Gael wants to set up autonomous hospital groups that behave like semi-state companies. They will own their assets, manage their own recruitment, agree individual contracts with key staff and make collective agreements with their employees.

“On top of this will they be required to develop strategic plans to re-organise services within their group of hospitals.

“I would have grave concerns about what such a re-organisation might mean, especially for services in hospitals such as Navan, South Tipperary General and Portiuncula. The services being provided in smaller hospitals will be at the mercy of larger hospitals and in an independent trust, there will be no guarantees.

“Furthermore the experience of Roscommon Hospital after the 2011 election means that any promises made by Fine Gael now can’t be taken remotely seriously.

“Fine Gael’s plans for our hospitals follow an agenda close to the heart of Margaret Thatcher and the British Tory party. We all knew that FG is ripping off Tory election strategies. However to implement Tory health policies is far more serious. This agenda must be stopped.”