The Taoiseach has reiterated his backing for a HSE run elective only hospital for the mid-west.
University Hospital Limerick – which covers North Tipp, Limerick and Clare – has consistently been the most overcrowded facility in the country in recent years.
The issue was raised in the Dáil by Labour leader and Tipperary TD Alan Kelly in the wake of newspaper reports that the UL Hospitals Group was in discussion with private health provider UPMC.
Deputy Kelly pressed Micheál Martin to comment on whether it was government policy to go down this route.
“Do you believe it should go ahead like that? Or do you believe that given what we’ve come through collectively in this house as part of Sláintecare that that elective hospital should be publicly built, publicly owned and based on one of the health campuses within the mid-west – St John’s, Nenagh or Ennis?
The Taoiseach said Sláintecare had identified Galway, Cork and Dublin should have such elective only hospitals which he felt had already taken too long to develop.
“The most effective way to deliver them is on state owned land. Get the design done and get them delivered.
“Now that’s happening in Cork and Galway but there’s a bit more work needed in Dublin.
“In terms of the mid-west I would have the same principle – keep it simple.
“We need elective facilities – where we have state land to provide those elective facilities we should provide the elective facilities on the state land.
“There’s a myriad of interest in health all the time wanting to come in and say we do it over there, this group want to do it here. I don’t understand why the state shouldn’t go ahead and develop and get this thing done.”