(Co)-Location, (Co)-Location, (Co)-Location

I just don’t get it. As I understand this co-location policy, Fianna Fail wants to free-up more Public beds in Public hospitals for Public patients. They say that the quickest way to achieve this is by moving Private patients out of Public beds into co-located (cushy) Private hospitals on Public hospital sites. These Private hospitals are to be staffed by Consultants who agree to work in the Private system only. And in the long term, it’s hoped that Public hospital Consultants will agree to work only in the Public sector. In HSE speak, this policy will free-up approx 1,ooo Public beds for those patients without private health insurance. But let’s look at what else this policy will achieve.

Without doubt it’s going to cause an even wider divide between the Public and the Private systems. The Private health insurance market has gone mad and is set to get even worse with this government’s policies. Are the hospital Consultants happy with the HSE proposals? No. The HSE is interfering in doctor/patient relationships. Is it any wonder that the IHCA (Irish Hospital Consultants Association) is refusing to agree to new contracts. Private patients will always continue to need both elective and emergency care in Public hospitals as these are the centres of excellence for many complicated conditions. What is a Private consultant meant to do when his/her Private patient is re-admitted as an emergency to a Public hospital following surgery in the Private system. Are they expected to abandon their patients?
Could someone please explain to me why patients in Public hospitals are expected to put up with filthy, old-fashioned hospital conditions while Private patients are set to get all the nice new modern, clean facilities? And why is it that Public patients get lousy food when Private patients have á la carte menus? You’re either sick and in need of good hospital care or you’re not.

Surely it makes sense to concentrate resources on getting a decent Health Service that works for everyone. I say – one for all, and all for one! But it’s not about common sense is it?

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