The sale of the Beacon Hospital in south Dublin represents a missed opportunity for the Government to deliver on a key Sláintecare commitment, according to Social Democrats health spokesperson Róisín Shortall.

“It emerged this week that a deal has been reached to sell the Beacon Hospital to the asset management wing of the Australian owned Macquarie Group for a sum believed to be in excess of €400 million.

“News of the sale comes as the Government continues to dither over the selection of sites for the development of two elective hospitals in the capital. Four elective hospitals – two in Dublin and one each in Cork and Galway – were recommended as part of the rollout of Sláintecare, with a delivery timeline of 2027/28.

“The proposal was based on the experience of the National Health Service in Scotland, where this policy innovation had been very successful. Crucially, in Scotland, the NHS purchased a private hospital and brought it into use quickly for elective procedures. Arising from the success of this, they then built a second elective hospital.

“I have repeatedly called for the purchase of an existing private hospital to speed up delivery of an elective facility in Dublin – a call that has been ignored by the Government.

“Having a dedicated elective-only hospital would help to free up capacity in existing hospitals and crucially would enable significant progress on waiting lists.

“Given the runaway costs and delayed opening of the National Children’s Hospital, the Government should be well aware of the pitfalls and challenges of building a new hospital from scratch.

“While sites for standalone elective hospitals in Cork and Galway were announced in April 2023, we are still waiting for a decision on either of the Dublin sites, meaning the delivery targets set out under Sláintecare are extremely unlikely to be met. This makes it all the more frustrating that the Government did not examine the feasibility of making its own bid for the Beacon Hospital.”

February 14, 2024

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