From top: Denis O’Brien took over the Beacon Hospital in 2014; Mick Barry in the Dáil yesterday


Leinster House, Dublin 2.

Socialist Party TD Mick Barry n the Dáil yesterday raised the government’s agreement with the Private Hospitals Association to use their members’ facilities for the treatment of both Covid-19 and non Covid-19 patients.

Mr Barry said:
“I welcome the fact that the State will have the use of the facilities of 19 private hospitals for the next three months.

The private hospitals, such as the Beacon Hospital owned by Denis O’Brien, the Hermitage Medical Clinic, Blackrock Clinic or the Bon Secours chain, should not be compensated for this.

The two-tier health system should not be dismantled this week and re-established in three months’ time.

Rather than develop these points in the limited time available to me, I wish to ask why the deal between the State and the Private Hospitals Association is, for the most part, a secret deal.

When the State does a deal with workers and their representative organisations, the details are usually published online, they are published in the newspapers and they are subject to scrutiny and public comment.

However, when the State does a deal with billionaires and wealthy corporations in this instance, the details are being kept secret. Why is that?

Is it because the deal has not been signed yet? Is it because the hospital association is insisting on commercial secrecy?

Is it because the Government thinks there may be public criticism of the sums involved? The details of the deal should be published immediately and the secrecy around it should stop.

Extraordinary powers have been granted to the State by the Dáil and they are in evidence over this two-week period of lockdown.

The overwhelming majority of the population is complying and will comply with restrictions in the interest of public health.

However, we should not blind ourselves to the abuse of Covid-19 special powers in other jurisdictions, nor should we blind ourselves to the abuse of special powers in this jurisdiction in the past.

This situation needs to be carefully monitored by organisations that defend the interests of workers, young people and oppressed groups and by those who defend civil liberties.

As a workers’ representative, I will do my best to help monitor this situation in the weeks ahead.”


Yesterday: Silver Chicken Comes Home To Roost


21 thoughts on “Going Private

    1. Clampers Outside

      3. In an ideal world, they should remain in public hands after this. And a complete revamp done.

      I know, utopian stuff, but there ya go, I typed it.

      1. Cian

        3.a. after the State compensates the owners for the full cost. Or are we just going to steal private property?

          1. Cian

            Fair enough. And do we introduce laws saying that no new private hospitals can be built? What would stop the owners taking the cash, and investing that into a new private hospital?

            How much do you think a hospital is worth? Let’s say: Vincent’s Private? €500m? €700m? €900m?

            And if we are buying hospitals – should we also buy the “public” hospitals in private ownership – How much for Vincent’s Public? 1bn?

            I’m sure the exchequer can afford €30-€40bn to buy-out all the non-State owned hospitals. /s

          2. Clampers Outside

            I admit, I haven’t given it much thought beyond the idea that I don’t believe a two tier system is a good system.

            I thought that might have been understood from my flippant “utopian stuff” comment :)

          3. Iwerzon

            Compensate? The private sector has run roughshod over the public system for decades – ‘Private’ patients have first dibs on public GPs and equipment which WE, the general tax payers, have paid for and invested in.

  1. BS

    Or you know, use this as an opportunity to build a proper healthcare system where we don’t need private health insurance to ensure decent hospital care.

  2. Shitferbrains

    Mick Barry works for nothing. This enables him to advocate that all those in the private sector should also work for nothing. I admire him for this.

  3. V

    Dept of Health/ HSE can’t manage the hospital assets they already have ffs
    And their investment in a new one has run amok and already overrun by 000,000,000s
    And now heading to the Courts with a 000,000 + price tag

    Cop on – best outcome here is to shame the Bons to Stump Up
    And take in all the Voluntarys which is what Micheál Martin should have done back when he had the chance

    And headhunt a Clinician with big group / State wide management experience and convince them to take the role of CEO

      1. V

        That’s actually not the case Cian

        When you add back all the transfer /payroll/ superann that’s working in other locations or “consulting”
        And add the spend on capital expenditure (which doesn’t get included in casemix returns or in the usual IMRs)
        Plus all the private income not returned by the voluntarys

        Its a very different loading

        But everyone should know that it’s far cheaper for the HSE to buy procedures – say 10 vascular surgeries in the Hermitage
        Than it is to treat them in house in James’
        Like nearly 50%
        and that’s even before all the hooing and haaing with out-patient clinics, letters and more letters from Patient Services
        And what have you
        (It even says so in their casemix returns Cian)

        And that’s why the Dept of Health/ HSE is a basket case

        If they’re allowed hang onto the Beacon and the likes they’d be another Tallaght within months


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