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Competition would ease waiting lists — PHA

29 Apr 2016

Marking the launch of the PHA’s policy document are (l-r): Simon Nugent, CEO, PHA; Dr Stephen Fröhlich, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care; and Mr David Bouchier-Hayes, Consultant Urologist

A structured “waiting list capacity initiative” and a competitive system for commissioning hospital care would significantly ease pressure on the health service, according to new proposals by a group of private hospitals.

The Private Hospitals Association (PHA) published a list of six proposals earlier this week (April 25), which they say would reduce waiting lists and free up beds in public hospitals, and would have both short-term and long-term benefits.

“Our members can help in the treatment of many waiting list patients but we can only make a significant impact if we work in close partnership with the public hospitals system,” said recently appointed PHA CEO Simon Nugent.

The proposals also suggest that a joined-up approach to allocating beds across the entire network of hospitals would help to alleviate the emergency department crisis, and say that a coordinated approach to attracting consultants and other health professionals to work in Ireland “would address the gaps delaying patient treatment”.

Capital investment in medical infrastructure should be planned “sensibly”, the PHA believes, while it also proposes the establishment of a taskforce to encourage ongoing exchange and dialogue between public and private healthcare systems.

The Association also released case studies to illustrate how the private sector could work with the public system.

Dr Stephen Fröhlich, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive care, said he estimated that the ICU beds shortage was costing 300 Irish lives every year. Dr Fröhlich said he received at least one patient per week into Blackrock Clinic’s ICU, but could accept more if the public service referred them.

More than 500 long waiters for urology consultations were also seen by the Galway Clinic last year, as arranged by the HSE’S Special Delivery Unit. Mr David Bouchier Hayes, Consultant Urologist and Robotic Surgeon, said that while some patients had been waiting up to three years for a specialist appointment, the Clinic was able to assess the entire group within two months.

“Collaboration between public and private sectors can remove the very common but more routine cases from the public system and frees up time for more complex cases,” he added.

By Danielle Barron


Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times