TDs will debate the crisis in our Emergency Departments this week and deputies will be forced to vote on a motion condemning the Government for increased waiting lists and unsafe conditions for patients.
Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has also accused the Government of being willing to give up on making the health service better. The crisis in Emergency Departments is the subject of Fianna Fáil’s Private Members’ Business in the Dáil tonight and tomorrow.
Last month was the worst October on record with 7,971 admitted patients cared for on trolleys, and over the first 10 months of this year almost 80,000 admitted patients were on trolleys in hospitals across the country.
Deputy Kelleher said: “Instead of addressing urgent service needs Minister Varadkar has basically given up and wants to hand over the health system to private trusts.
“Many people will have missed the Minister’s controversial remarks last week because they came at a time when the media was convulsed with harrowing stories of elderly patients being kept waiting on trolleys for days. But we could end up with private consultancy or accountancy firms running our hospital if this plan is not culled.
“Here’s what the Minister actually said last week: “Where hospitals consistently under perform in terms of clinical outcomes, patient experience and financial management, it should be open to the provider to transfer management of the hospital for a period of time to a private provider.”
Deputy Kelleher added: “This is extraordinary. The Minister is literally talking about the public service obligations of a hospital being handed over to a private operator to run as they see fit. The public wants our health service to be more efficient and more patient-focussed. The Minister may have the given up on that prospect but I haven’t.
“This policy from Fine Gael is extreme to say the least. It should be binned as it will create more inequity rather than less.
“Considering the Labour Party is hoping to save seats off the back of Fine Gael’s support, their silence on this issue should not come as a surprise – but it is certainly a cause for serious concern.”