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€300m set aside for private hospitals next year

Around €300 million has been budgeted by the HSE for private hospital services in 2021, it has emerged.

Some €150 million for allocated work under the National Purchase Treatment Fund (NTPF) and a further €150 million in HSE-tendered private hospital care has been set aside for next year, amid ongoing capacity demands due to the pandemic.

The funding has been allotted despite the lack of agreement between private hospitals and the HSE on securing additional private capacity, with pressure to agree a deal now diminished following the recent drop-off in Covid-19 cases.

Meanwhile, the Beacon Hospital, Dublin, has confirmed that it will not be entering into an agreement similar to the one introduced during the first wave of Covid-19.

Instead of giving up all capacity to the HSE, the hospital plans to continue to assist public facilities through existing arrangements with the NTPF, its CEO Mr Michael Cullen told members of the hospital’s senior management team in early November.

Taking on urgent public hospital work has led to the Beacon opening four additional operating rooms each Saturday until the end of 2020.

In a statement to the Medical Independent, a HSE spokesperson said: “There has been very constructive engagement with individual private providers and we are at an advanced stage of discussion and hope to bring this process to a conclusion shortly.”

The spokesperson said the HSE had tendered for private hospital care to “provide different services to support the public health system” and ensure continuity.

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