Fianna Fail manifesto – not a mention of health and co-location abandoned
Speaking on Morning Ireland today (7 January 2010), Minister of State in the Department of Health and Children said there’s is no future for co-location. This is the first public acknowledgment that Fianna Fail have abandoned one of Mary Harney’s pet projects – the plan to co-location private hospitals on the grounds of public hospitals.
Up to this, co-location was going ahead, despite doubts and persistent questioning from many. The Ministerial and Departmental line was that it would go ahead even though it was dropped from HSE 2011 Service Plan. Just ten days ago I listened to Department of Health secretary general Michael Scanlon answer questions at the Public Accounts Committee saying that co-location was going ahead, that there were two problems, one the VHI saying it won’t cover people in co-located hospitals and two their bankability. Today they had no comment to make on their own minister’s comments!
Today I spoke to Michael Cullen of Beacon Medical Group who is behind three of the four co-located hospitals which have signed project agreements with the HSE and as far as he is concerned, they are going ahead. They have invested €30 million in the projects in good faith that the government projects will proceed. He said the VHI’s position is the main obstacles, Cullen is confident he can get investors if VHI issue is resolved. Andrews said that ‘we will have to see through certain contractual commitments’. So the four signed projects may have to go ahead.
Remarkably at the Fianna Fail manifesto launch, there was not a mention of health. Health is not mentioned ONCE in the Fianna Fail manifesto. In 2007, Fianna Fail had 12 pages of promises on health. Micháel Martin said at the launch today there’d be no false promises, well there were no promises at all on health, no even a mention, incredible.
Barry Andrews said Fianna Fail will publish their own policy on health towards the end of the week or early next week. Am looking forward to seeing the content.
Andrews said that the ‘current public private mix services the country well’. I don’t know who he’s being talking to – even the Report by the expert group on resource allocation commissioned by Mary Harney, chaired by ESRI France Ruane and published by the Department of Health last July highlights how badly the current public private mix has served the Irish people. Maybe he should read that before he launches the FF health policy…