The All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare recommended that private activity be progressively removed from public hospitals and that that an independent impact analysis would be conducted.
The Minister for Health established an Independent Review Group to examine private activity in public hospitals including the practical approach to take to remove private practice from public hospitals, the impacts that this removal will have, what timeframe should apply and how to phase it over time.
The Independent Review Group was chaired by Dr Donal de Buitléir, chairman of the Low Pay Commission and former HSE Board member. The Group conducted a comprehensive examination of private activity in public hospitals and their Report submitted to the Minister contains eight recommendations which the Group considers will be necessary to achieve the goal articulated in Sláintecare that private activity would be removed from public hospitals. Five recommendations concern the consultant contract. A sixth recommends legislation to ensure that public hospitals are exclusively used for the treatment of public patients from the conclusion of the ten-year Sláintecare implementation period. Two further recommendations relate to better data collection and HIQA’s role in private hospitals.
When announcing the publication of the Report, the Minister for Health commented:
“It is clear that removing private care from public hospitals is complex, would take time and would cost money. Developing a single-tier public hospital system is one of the fundamental reforms envisaged in Sláintecare and decisions on expenditure including on the issues raised in the Report must be made in the context of the wider implementation of Sláintecare and the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020."
“I intend to consult with key stakeholders and my colleagues in Government to consider further key implementation issues before I return to Government in due course with proposals in response to the recommendations.”
To assist the Independent Review Group in their deliberations, the OECD produced a report which examined private activity in an international context.
In addition, Deloitte, who are actuarial consultants on contract to the Department of Health, examined the possible impact on health insurance of the removal of private practice from Irish public hospitals on behalf of the Independent Review Group.
A short FAQ has been prepared which answers some immediate questions.
The Department of Health previously published the responses received to the public consultation. These are available on the Department of Health website.
Report of the Independent Review Group established to examine Private Activity in Public Hospitals