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New consultant appointments should be to public-only contract –report

By Mindo - 26th Aug 2019

All new consultant appointments should be to a Sláintecare Consultant Contract that would allow only public activity in public hospitals, according to the Report of the Independent Review Group established to examine private activity in public hospitals.

The report also recommends restoration of consultant pay to pre-October 2012 pay levels for all existing type A contracts and new entrant Sláintecare Consultant Contracts

Consultants holding 2008 (or earlier) contracts under which the consultant conducts private activity on a public hospital site should be offered a “contract change payment” to move to the new Sláintecare Consultant Contract, outlines the report.

The report further recommends introducing legislation to ensure public hospitals are exclusively used for the treatment of public patients from the conclusion of the ten-year Sláintecare implementation period.

Following publication of the report, Minister for Health Simon Harris said, “I welcome the publication of this report and thank the Independent Review Group for conducting this analysis of private activity in our public hospitals.

“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 and return to Government in due course.”

The Independent Review Group, which was chaired by Dr Donal de Buitléir, made eight recommendations which it considers would be necessary to remove private activity 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.

Minister Harris added: “The Independent Review Group has suggested a small number of policy actions which would start the journey towards a fairer public hospital system that exclusively treats all public patients in an equitable and fair manner. Undoubtedly, implementing the recommendations poses some difficult choices but it is clear that this would be a significant step towards achieving single tier health care for all public patients envisaged in Sláintecare.”

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