The new National Children’s Hospital is in danger of becoming a “bonanza for private interests”, according to one local TD.
Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly made the claims following questioning of representatives of the HSE and the Children’s Hospital Group by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on health.
Speaking afterwards, Deputy O’Reilly said that she felt it was apparent that the new hospital – which will be known as Phoenix Children’s Health – is set to have a large amount of private services.
She said: “Firstly, it is intended to completely privatise the car parking services for payment to be ‘extracted’ from those visiting and attending the new hospital.
“This is despite car parking at hospitals being a huge issue for patients and their families, especially those who need long-term care and are travelling from outside of Dublin.”
Deputy O’Reilly also claimed that the representatives had not made a clear declaration as to whether they would be directly employing all staff at the hospital.
“They have claimed that a mixed model of directly-employed and outsourced staff works best, but … this hospital should focus on directly employing its staff at all levels and being a shining light for paediatric care as well as workers’ rights,” said Deputy O’Reilly.
“It also has to be cleared up as to whether the research and innovation aimed at improving paediatric services and advancing medical and scientific knowledge which will take place on the campus will be done privately, or if the hospital will link with third-level institutions in establishing publicly-funded research carried out in the public good.
“After today’s meeting, it looks like the new Children’s Hospital will be as much a bonanza for privatisation as it will be a world-class paediatric hospital.”
In response to Deputy O’Reilly’s comments, a spokesperson for the Children’s Hospital Group said: “Currently the existing three children’s hospitals adopt a ‘mixed-model’ approach with a small percentage of services being outsourced, such as security.
“The plan for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital will adopt a similar approach as this is an already established model throughout the Irish healthcare system.
“As is already the case in the existing children’s hospitals, parents or guardians of in-patients who stay for long periods will qualify for reduced car park rates.”