Simon Harris: There can be no public versus private in hospitals' battle against Covid-19

Simon Harris: There can be no public versus private in hospitals' battle against Covid-19

Private hospitals will operate as public hospitals for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency in the latest effort to curb the progress of the virus and treat those who need care.

The move to effectively nationalise the health system was announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and forms part of a raft of fresh government initiatives to push back the spread of the coronavirus and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by the expected tide of cases.

The private hospitals will become public hospitals on a not-for-profit basis and will boost bed numbers by more than 2,000 while also bringing more laboratories and other services into play.

In a speech outlining the new measures, the Taoiseach said: “We also approved a framework agreement with the private hospitals. They will operate effectively as public hospitals under Section 38 of the Health Act for the duration of the Emergency thus adding over 2,000 beds, nine laboratories, critical care capacity and thousands of staff to our health service.

Private and public patients will be treated equally and the private hospitals have agreed to do this on a not-for-profit basis. I want to thank them for their co-operation.

Speaking about the measure, Health Minister Simon Harris, said patients with Covid-19 will be treated for free in a single national hospital service.

“There can be no public versus private here,” he said.

In a statement, the Private Hospitals Association said it fully supports all strategic measures currently under consideration aimed at combatting the pandemic.

“Discussions are continuing on arrangements to allow the State to contract for a temporary period, the country’s private hospital bed capacity as well as the services of clinicians and health care professionals working in the private hospital system, as a critical next step in managing the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

“The precise detail of the HSE plan is still being discussed and we would hope to finalise this in the coming days.

“The PHA will continue to work in close partnership with the HSE in seeking to optimise the use of private and public facilities throughout the country in response to this unprecedented situation.”

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

More on this topic

UK's coronavirus deaths surge past 1,000 as another Cabinet minister self isolatesUK's coronavirus deaths surge past 1,000 as another Cabinet minister self isolates

Body Coach Joe Wicks donates money from YouTube PE sessions to NHSBody Coach Joe Wicks donates money from YouTube PE sessions to NHS

Shop sells doughnuts featuring face of doctor leading US coronavirus fightShop sells doughnuts featuring face of doctor leading US coronavirus fight

Another UK Cabinet member enters self-isolation after Boris Johnson tests positiveAnother UK Cabinet member enters self-isolation after Boris Johnson tests positive