Deputy Michael has welcomed confirmation that the new theatre block in Nenagh General Hospital will be fully operational in 2014 as already planned. The HSE National Service plan has confirmed that the project will be fully completed by quarter one of 2014 and will be operational in the second quarter of the year.
Deputy Lowry secured over €5.6m for this project as part of his agreement with the last Government, and said that the opening of these theatres will be a vital boost to the hospital.
“During the lifetime of the last Government I fought for, and insisted, that these operating theatres were essential for the future of the hospital as the suites in place are antiquated and lacking in modern technologies. These new theatres will be an important boost for Nenagh and will guarantee its future as a centre of excellence for healthcare in Tipperary. These units will increase the throughput of the hospital and protect its status as a vibrant essential service into the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, people with expensive private health insurance are ending up in public beds in hospitals, according to Cllr Tom Mulqueen. The Fianna Fail councillor told Nenagh Town Council there was “no such thing as private health care. There is no privacy. You join the rest. It is a scandal.”
He was commenting in a debate on reports that the Health Inspection Quality Agency (Hiqa) had carried out a hygiene inspectiona at University Hospital Limerick,
Cllr Seamus Morris criticised moves by the Minister for Health, James Reilly, to charge private patients for public beds, describing it as the “latest attempt by Minister Reilly to force the health insurers to bail out his inability to bring his health budget in line”.
The Sinn Fein councillor predicted that the move will have “catastrophic consequences for non-insured patients”.
Under the proposal, private health care patients may face bills of up to E1,000 per night for use of a public bed.
Cllr Morris warned that this will force health insurers to increase their premiums, forcing more and more people away from health insurance.
“It will mean financially under pressure hospital managers will be tempted to ensure public beds will be filled with fee paying private patients while public patients will languish on trolleys,” he said.
And following the news that Hiqa had carried out a hygiene inspection at University Hospital Limerick, Cllr Morris accused local Government TDs who, he said, had so much to say about protecting services in Nenagh, of “surrendering to the power of the HSE” and “abandoning their constituents to laughable excuses”.