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Inspections of private facilities could take place under capacity arrangement

The HSE may visit private hospitals in certain circumstances to ascertain staffing levels, processes and procedures, and levels of experience, according to tender documents for additional capacity within the private sector. The tender, which is being undertaken due to the need for additional capacity as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, is for the following areas: Radiology MRI; radiology CT; radiology ultrasound; radiology x-ray; radiology DEXA; cardiology; and pulmonary function/spirometry.

The HSE will award ‘call-off contracts’ in respect of its requirements under the tendered panel agreement by way of mini-competitions. When a requirement has been identified, the HSE shall invite the panel agreement members appointed to the relevant panel and categories to submit a response.

The request for mini-competition may prescribe certain minimum requirements relative to the specific call-off contract to be awarded, such as minimum levels of experience or minimum volumes of procedures to be carried out in a given timeframe. Only facilities that satisfy the prescribed minimum requirements shall be eligible for the award of any call-off contracts. At mini-competition stage, the HSE will ask tenderers to indicate their past experience for each procedure/service for which they wish to tender.

“Whilst the HSE require knowledge of each panel member’s experience levels, it recognises that past experience is not always decisive in terms of a healthcare provider’s ability to carry out certain procedures,” the tender documents stated.

“Accordingly, in some instances, the HSE may take a more pragmatic approach to verifying a panel member’s ability to perform a call-off contract. This pragmatic approach includes the possibility of visiting the panel member’s healthcare facility to review issues including but not limited to staffing levels, processes and procedures, and levels of experience. These visits to a panel member’s healthcare facility will be carried out by an HSE representative with appropriate clinical experience.”

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