Warning over 'creeping' healthcare privatisation

Creeping privatisation of Ireland’s healthcare system will put profits before patients, it will be claimed today.

Creeping privatisation of Ireland’s healthcare system will put profits before patients, it will be claimed today.

Doctors and nurses angry at their Government’s support for private hospitals will chair a conference in Dublin that private facilities will create a two-tier health system with higher costs and lower patient care.

'Ireland’s Healthcare Reforms – For People Or For Profit?' at Liberty Hall is organised by the Health Services Action Group and will feature contributions for national and international experts.

The HSAG has been formed by local hospital action groups and is supported by the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Nurses Organisation.

IMO vice-president Dr Christine O’Malley said ahead of the conference: “We must halt the current drive towards privatising Ireland’s healthcare system and instead divert funds to beds in public hospitals.”

HSAG chairman Dr John Barton warned that the Government support for public-private partnerships in health would lead to a US-style healthcare system where patients are over-diagnosed and over-treated to boost the profits of investors.

“Profit-run facilities will encourage unethical practices by managers and by the medical profession, particularly if doctors or their families become shareholders,” he said.

The keynote speaker at today’s conference is Professor Allyson Pollock, professor of health policy at the University of Edinburgh and author of research paper, NHS Plc.

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