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As part of his detailed submission to the Committee Minister for Health Simon Harris said today that he would like “a movement away from fee-for-service payments to hospital consultants for private patients towards an annual remuneration inclusive of both public workload and the permitted and planned level of private activity.”
However Dr Peadar Gilligan, Chairman of the Consultants Committee of the IMO said that the Minister was “merely distracting attention” from the acute shortage of consultants and inadequate investment in the Irish public hospital system.
“The fact that we cannot fill 400 vacancies in consultant positions in our hospitals speaks volumes for the failings of the Irish health services,” said Dr Gilligan.
“It should be acknowledged that almost half of consultants working in our hospitals do not undertake private practice.
“The suggestion that those consultants who do engage in some limited private practice, the level of which is determined by contract provisions, are to blame for the failings of our public hospital services is misleading.
“The simple fact is that there has been for many years insufficient funding, too few beds and the inability to implement a consultant delivered service given the chronic shortfall in consultant manpower”.
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