Take Over Private Health Capacity To Ease Pressure On Public Health

Free antigen testing, ventilation measures and faster distribution of booster shots needed to bring cases under control 

At a media conference on the Dáil plinth today, People Before Profit outlined a number of measures that the government could take to ease the burden on the public health system which is experiencing extreme pressure due to a fourth wave of Covid 19. They also outlined steps that the government should have taken before now to reduce the increase of infections currently seen.

The other measures the party said should have been taken a long time ago are the provision of free antigen tests, ensuring schools and workplaces have proper ventilation, Co2 monitors, and where appropriate HEPA air filters, and the ramping up of the booster programme.

The party said that they would be bringing a Bill on ventilation to the Dáil next week during their private member’s time.

Speaking on the need to take over private health capacity, Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “Our hospital system is being over run and our health workers are beyond exhausted at this stage. It is absolutely essential for the state to step in and take over private health capacity. This is an absolute no brainer and has been done before.

“Currently our ICU capacity is little more than half the average for OECD countries. We need at least 250 additional ICU beds to reach the OECD average, but the Government plans to add just 19 ICU beds next year. This is a shocking indictment on successive governments and the current administration. We need to dramatically increase our healthcare capacity, not only for the crisis that we are seeing due to the government’s terrible mismanagement of Covid, but also for the future so that we can move to a fully public health system.”

Paul Murphy TD, speaking on measures that the government should have taken before now, said: “It has been clear for a long time that the government has failed to control Covid infections and rested on their laurels once vaccination among adults reached 90%. We can see now that it was a disastrous plan to present vaccination as a panacea, which is effectively what they did. They have run down test and trace; they have kept their heads in the sand about schools and they have refused to take the most obvious action of making sure each school in this country has proper ventilation, Co2 monitors and HEPA filters.

“What the government should do now is support our Bill next week to next week on ventilation and move to make sure all schools and workplaces have proper ventilation and Co2 monitors. They should also ramp up the booster programme and make sure that antigen tests are provided for people free of charge.”

Speaking on motor insurance, Mick Barry TD said: “The Private Motor Insurance Report clearly shows that the insurance industry have exploited the Covid pandemic to increase profits at the expense of the ordinary motorist. What does the Government intend to do about this? The Taoiseach and his Ministers should not be allowed to fly beneath the radar and keep silent on this issue. The people of this country made sacrifices and continue to make sacrifices to combat Covid. It is not acceptable that the Government stands idly by and allows the insurance corporations to exploit the situation to enrich themselves at the people’s expense.”