Simon Nugent, Chief Executive Officer of the Private Hospitals Association has stressed that the latest waiting list figures indicate the urgent need for a public-private partnership to make inroads into these sizeable backlogs.
Public hospital waiting lists have risen to a new record, with 665,618 patients waiting for some type of care. Mr Nugent stated that the Private Hospitals Association is available for urgent discussions with the Minister for Health to assist in lessening these lists before another winter crisis hits the public system.
He declared that Simon Harris must reshape how care is delivered and transfer responsibility for the care of private patients from public hospitals to private ones, which have the capacity. This year, the Government intends to spend €50 million on initiatives to cut waiting lists, but figures released by the National Treatment Purchase Fund suggest that these efforts have yet to make significant impact, as there are less public hospital beds available now than in 1980.
The association pointed out that 70 per cent of those waiting for procedures are straightforward day cases and Mr Nugent claimed that private hospitals would run theatres 12 hours a day and at weekends to tackle the lists, as well as employing 8,100 healthcare professionals across the country. Not only would earlier treatment of those on waiting lists benefit patients but it would also create savings to the Exchequer, as increasing complexity of conditions would be avoided.