Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Michael Moynihan has claimed that Section 39 health organisations, such as St. Joseph’s Foundation in Charleville, are being gouged by insurance companies following a decision of the State Claims Agency to indemnify Section 38 heath service providers.

Deputy Moynihan made the comments after raising the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil.

“St. Joseph’s has seen its insurance bill rise from €165,000 to €500,000, a full 265% increase in just one year.

“It’s clear to me that the insurance companies have decided to maintain their profit margins by gouging on Section 39 organisations.

“The decision of the State Claims Agency to provide indemnity to Section 38s, such as voluntary hospitals, and to leave Section 39s out, has put major pressure on organisations such as St. Joseph’s Foundation.

“This rise in premiums will jeopardise the provision of services, and only adds to the struggles of organisations such as St. Joseph’s that are trying to balance their commitments to their staff and provide services. They work off fixed block grants from the HSE, and cannot simply absorb premium hikes of this nature.

“What now must happen is progress must be made on bringing Section 38s, such as St, Joseph’s and Marymount Hospice, under the ambit of the State Claims Agency with regards to insurance.

“Let’s call a spade a spade. Section 39s are, for all intents and purposes, doing the job of the State, and leaving them exposed to ruthless insurance companies is deeply unfair,” concluded Moynihan.