Private hospitals “must resume” some normal service

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Private hospitals must begin to resume normal service “as soon as possible” Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice says, as the number of Covid-19 patients drops.

The government made a deal to take over private hospitals to increase the public health service’s capacity to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.

The two such hospitals in Galway are the Bon Secours Hospital and the Galway Clinic.

“While it was necessary for private hospitals to be called upon in order to combat Covid-19, it is now time for normal service to resume in at least some of these private hospitals,” Michael Fitzmaurice said.

The Independent TD said that there are “countless” people who depend on private hospitals for different procedures.

“My office has been contacted by various people who requirement operations, such as a hip replacement for example, but whose appointments have been postponed.

“Some of these people are in constant pain and require the operation as a matter of urgency.”

Questions have also been raised about the amount of use the state is getting out of the deal, with low occupancy reported in Galway.

Last week in the Dáil, Health Minister Simon Harris told Galway West TD Catherine Connolly that Bon Secours Galway had an inpatient occupancy of 41% in the week of May 18 – 22, while the Galway Clinic had 26% occupancy in the same period.

The government said last week that it will not be seeking to extend the current deal past the end of June.

Instead it is hoped that a new deal can be struck that will allow the state access to private bed space in the event of a second wave of the coronavirus.

“While it is important to consider the possible implications of a second wave, people cannot be left to suffer any longer.”

Letting them return to normal service would also help reduce the €115 million plus costs that the state has “racked up” as a result of this deal.