The HSE has noted that “differing views” may exist between it, the Department of Health (DoH), and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), regarding the “appropriate value/effectiveness metrics” in its pandemic capacity arrangement with private hospitals. In January 2021 the HSE came to an agreement with private hospitals to provide additional capacity for any further ‘surges’ in Covid-19 cases. The “safety net arrangement” is in place for one year.
Discussions regarding the “value for money” of this arrangement took place between the Executive, DoH and DPER officials at the April meeting of the health budget oversight group.
According to the minutes, DPER said that “outstanding data are likely held by VHI and should be available (potential constraints due to commercial sensitivity are noted)”.
“HSE note that differing views may exist between DoH/HSE and DPER with regard to appropriate value/effectiveness metrics in the arrangement and that careful, balanced interpretation of data will be necessary. HSE affirm that they are
happy to provide all available data.”
A HSE spokesperson said the safety net arrangement has been updated and utilised during the recent cyberattack. The HSE “has been provided with significant additional funding to support access to care in 2021, in addition to work under the safety net arrangement”.
“This [funding] will be targeted at delivering additional public sector activity and purchasing capacity in the private sector under procured arrangements. The National Treatment Purchase Fund is also continuing to target funding at purchasing care for patients who are on waiting lists.”
Following termination of the original private hospitals agreement in June 2020, the Government mandated the HSE to seek to agree with the private hospitals a new arrangement for additional capacity.