The Beacon Hospital has said it offered a “state-of-the-art Vaccination Centre” to the HSE free of charge and at no cost to the State.
n a statement, the hospital said they have no contract with the HSE and all vaccination work has been carried out by staff as “a goodwill gesture”.
“To date, over 1000 HSE frontline workers have been vaccinated at the Centre along with a proportion of Beacon Hospital’s frontline clinical staff from the ED, ICU and Theatre,” a spokesperson said.
“In addition, the staff that have volunteered to administer the vaccine have also been vaccinated. The remainder of Beacon Hospital’s 1,700 staff will be vaccinated when scheduled by the HSE,” she added.
The Beacon said it will vaccinate 460 HSE staff in the coming days and 90 staff members have volunteered to administer the vaccine.
It said they will continue to provide support to the healthcare system through arrangements with public hospitals and under the terms of the National Treatment Purchase Fund.
They said between 15pc to 20pc of surgical work over the past two weeks has been for public patients and approximately 55pc of its ICU capacity is being used to treat public patients.
It came after it emerged staff in the private hospital have been vaccinated ahead of thousands of public healthcare workers because it is earmarked as a vaccination centre.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar suggested to make the Denis O’Brien-owned Beacon Hospital a vaccination centre should be reviewed.
Speaking outside Government Buildings, Mr Varadkar said designating the Beacon as vaccination centre is “at odds” with the hospital’s refusal to sign a deal that allows the HSE use bed capacity in private hospitals when it is struggling to meet with the rising demand caused by a major outbreak of Covid-19.
Mr Varadkar said he did not know if there was a review clause in the contract but said if there is perhaps it should be looked at.
“The prioritisation that the Government has agreed puts healthcare workers in three categories. Number one; those who are dealing with patients, particularly those dealing with Covid patients and number two; those dealing with samples for example, people working in labs and pathology and then in third those healthcare workers who are not dealing with patients, that is the Government policy and we believe that should be adhered to,” Mr Varadkar said.
However, Labour Party leader Alan Kelly said it is “scandalous” that private healthcare workers who are not dealing directly with Covid-19 are being prioritised ahead of public health workers who are treating coronavirus patients everyday.
“Why healthcare staff in places like Nenagh Hospitals pleading with the minister for vaccinations when other non-Covid facing staff and in some case private hospital staff have been vaccinated?” Mr Kelly asked.
“This is scandalous and wrong and completely disheartening to Covid facing frontline staff,” he added.
Yesterday, HSE chief Executive Paul Reid said he was concerned about the Beacon being made a vaccination centre after they refused to sign the private hospital deal.
“It is, to be frank, at odds with the fact that we don’t have an agreement currently with the Beacon Hospital, a signed agreement in relation to the surge safety net agreement. That is a concern of mine,” Mr Reid said.
But bizarrely, Mr Reid’s own organisation released a lengthy statement announcing that the Beacon would be a vaccination centre.
There is serious anger among private hospitals that did sign a bed-capacity deal over the Government’s decision to designate the Beacon as a mass vaccination centre.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has refused to explain why the Beacon was chosen ahead of other private hospitals that signed the bed capacity deal.
Source: Irish News