Waiting lists crisis is destroying the lives of ordinary people - Louise O'Reilly TD
Responding to the harrowing stories in last night’s RTE Primetime Investigates Show “Public V Private: The Battle for Care” Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has said that there is no doubt about it that hospital waiting lists are destroying the lives of ordinary people.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Last night’s Primetime Investigates Show “Public V Private: The Battle for Care” showed some of the harrowing real life stories behind the waiting list crisis in this State. In particular it showed how ordinary people who don’t have private health insurance or the means to access private care financially are being completely failed by a system which elevates those who have money and relegates those who don’t.
“In 2014 the HSE stopped compiling compliance with private practice limits within public hospitals, the result being that a number of consultants have since been ignoring these limits and spending a disproportionate amount of their publically contracted time solely dealing with their private lists in public hospitals and in private hospitals.
“The fallout of this failure of oversight from the HSE is that there are some consultants who are using time which they are contractually bound to provide publically for private care. This is unacceptable and needs to be immediately addressed.
“Having a private system which operates alongside the public system in public hospitals creates perverse incentives for all involved.
"It creates a situation where public hospitals are dependent on income from private practice in order raise much needed funding shortfalls.
“It is for this reason that hospitals are willing to turn a blind eye, and some may even encourage, consultants to ignore their public hospital waiting list responsibilities and spend a disproportionate amount of their publically contracted time solely dealing with their private lists; the result being that waiting lists grow even longer.
“This has been embedded in the whole system and encouraged by the Government and Fianna Fáil who allocated an extra €55 million for the National Treatment Purchase Fund in Budget 2018.
"This is completely cyclical as the NTPF syphons public money into the private sector as it pays for public patients to obtain treatment in private hospitals in Ireland or abroad.
“Any Government who stand over state funds going to the NTPF while saying they are going to address the problems outlined in last night’s Primetime Investigates is being completely disingenuous.
“The problems outlined in last night’s show can only be addressed by removing private healthcare from public hospitals, HSE oversight to ensure consultants adhere to private practice limits stopping state funds going to private interests through the NTPF, and the adequate funding of public hospitals so they don’t have to raise their own funds from private practice in public hospitals by removing stretch income targets."