Monday 24 October 2016

Beacon unveils €32m investment as deputy CEO calls for public-private deals

Published 20/12/2015 | 02:30

Brian Fitzgerald, deputy CEO of The Beacon Photo: Steve Humphreys
Brian Fitzgerald, deputy CEO of The Beacon Photo: Steve Humphreys

Hospital waiting lists could be slashed if private healthcare providers are allowed to work with the public sector under long-term agreements, the deputy CEO of the Beacon Hospital has said.

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Brian Fitzgerald was speaking after the announcement of plans for the investment of €32m into the business over the next five years.

He added that there was a huge opportunity for delays in elective surgeries and other procedures to be removed, but doing so needed concerted co-operation between both sides.

Up to now, public hospitals tender for private clinics once their waiting times go over a certain level. That means that while public hospitals use the likes of the Beacon regularly, the system is informal and ad hoc in nature.

"The reality is The Beacon does collaborate with the public sector and provides capacity to public patients on waiting lists," said Fitzgerald.

"It is an ad-hoc system and it would be much more effective if a long-term plan could be put in place. Public hospitals can put in place framework agreements with private sector hospitals which can last up to 12 months. That would give both sides much more flexibility and allow them to make plans accordingly," he said.

Fitzgerald is a former CEO of St James's Hospital and sits on the board of the New Children's Hospital so has dealt with the waiting list problem from both sides of the healthcare fence.

"Throughout my working life there have always been waiting lists and there always have been waiting list 'initiatives' to make sure targets are met.

"The private sector can work with public hospitals to ensure these targets are met in a coherent fashion," he claimed.

Fitzgerald's comments came after the Beacon Hospital, located in South Dublin, unveiled plans to invest €32m in the business over the next five years.

As part of the investment, the Beacon has already added a new urology unit along with four dedicated procedure rooms. The urology unit is now one of the biggest in the country with five adult and two paediatric consultants as well as four specialist urology nurses.

Next year the hospital will open a new cancer day ward, which will see its day care cancer treatment capacity grow by 40pc. The capital investment programme also includes a €20m ten-year diagnostic equipment contract with GE Healthcare which was announced last month.

The Beacon Hospital opened in October 2006. It has treated more than 100,000 patients so far this year.

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