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Public patients suffer from HSE cuts and consultants privateering–Ó Caoláin

16 August, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Commenting on the row between hospital consultants and the HSE over the amount of private work being carried out by consultants, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the dispute showed the “folly, unfairness and dysfunction” of the two-tier public-private system and called for all consultants paid by the State to be public-only. He said:

“The consultants’ contract negotiated by Health Minister Mary Harney allows hospital consultants to continue private practice while being paid very generous salaries from the public purse. This fundamentally flawed contract has inevitably led to a dispute over the amount of private work being done, with the HSE arguing, probably correctly, that many consultants are doing more private work than their contract allows.

“We now have a dispute over how the amount of private work is measured, with the Irish Hospital Consultants Association telling hospital mangers not to provide the HSE with the details of the public/private ratio of work done by consultants. This is a disgraceful approach by the IHCA. They are very well paid from the public purse and should co-operate fully with proper measurement of their work and not hide behind data protection legislation. Sinn Féin calls for consultants paid from the public purse to be public-only.

“At the same time we have a situation where over 18,000 operations were cancelled in 2009, with the figure growing year on year. This is because of Government-imposed HSE cutbacks, lack of front-line staff in the public system and too much wasted on the private hospital system. The reality is that patients suffer from HSE cuts and consultants privateering. This exposes the folly, unfairness and dysfunction of the two-tier public-private hospital system.” ENDS

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