Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD questioned the logic of the HSE providing hospital services in Spain while closing an A&E in Ireland. He said: “The news of the opening of a hospital on the Costa Blanca, Spain, which is dedicated to treating Irish patients on the waiting lists feels like an April Fool’s joke with 2 months of delay. The hospital will provide almost all the treatment done in Ireland there to 1,500 Irish patients initially in the first year. In a time of climate change, the HSE believe it is better for patients to fly to Spain for treatment than to travel to their local hospital. In the midst of a cost of living crisis, the HSE expects sick patients to get flights and hotel rooms in Spain to undergo routine operations.
“Covid has made international travel extremely unpredictable. Another serious wave of Covid could see the Spanish government restrict travel from Ireland. Where would that leave Irish treatment at the Costa Blanca hospital. The HSE outsources public healthcare to a private Spanish hospital group. The Minister of Health must openly detail what the cost of this contract is and will the HSE pay for the use of this hospital even though Irish patients cannot travel due to Covid. The whole plan is stranger than fiction, especially considering that the HSE is closing hospital capacity here in Navan because it will not be providing acute surgery services.
“The mind is blowing at the thought of what the next HSE plan will be. Mental Health in Morocco, Maternity Services in Milan, Coronary Care in Copenhagen. The Minister must rule the HSE and refocus it on providing Irish patients with public healthcare in Ireland”
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