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Setting of unrealistic ‘stretch’ income targets for hospitals compromising patient care – O’Reilly

12 June, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the setting of unrealistic ‘stretch’ income targets for hospitals groups are putting hospitals under pressure, compromising patient care, and resulting in a situation where private health insurance patients are being forced into waiving their right to public care.

Speaking this morning, deputy O’Reilly said;

“On numerous occasions in the Health Committee and in Oral and Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for Health Simon Harris, I have raised the issue that the unrealistic ‘stretch’ income targets being set for hospital groups to generate private income is putting hospitals under severe pressure, compromising patient care, and overall is creating a myriad of problems for the equitable delivery of healthcare based on need.

“The situation whereby a hospital is set a target to generate an amount of private income which bears no relationship to actual medical needs of patients or work carried out by the hospital is an outrageous state of affairs.

“It is also very concerning that it is now reported that patients with private health insurance are being coerced and bullied into signing forms to waive their right to public care solely so hospital groups can hit the income targets set for them.
“Similarly, it is worrying that public patients are also suffering given that private patients may be taken in over public patients and therefore shunt those who do not have private medical insurance to the back of the queue.

“Furthermore, in instances where these targets are not met, hospitals may have no choice but to cut services as they will then not have the income to carry out necessary medical work.

“The whole situation is just perpetuating the dysfunctional two-tier health system designed by Fianna Fail and which continues to be implemented by Fine Gael.

“The Minister for Health Simon Harris must make a clear that statement public patients will not be precluded from being seen and treated, as a result of hospitals drive to generate income from private patients, and we also need the Minister to make a statement on the reports that private patients are being bullied into signing away their right to public care in public hospitals.

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