Consultants hiring out scanners to hospitals where they work
HOSPITAL consultants are earning generous extra income by hiring out private scanning machines in four public hospitals where they are employed.
The senior radiologists, who are already on public salaries of around €150,000, are partners in private companies which purchased the machines and provide in-house MRI and CAT scans to public patients on waiting lists. They are paid fees out of the budget from the public hospital.
Documents filed in recent years showed some of the consultants received individual fees of nearly €124,000.
The four separate companies operate in Cork University Hospital, the Mercy Hospital and the South Infirmary Service in Cork, and in Merlin Park Hospital in Galway.
The HSE recently announced it intended to review a private pregnancy scan service which is owned by doctors working in the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.
The review will look at a potential conflict of interest.
The service, which is owned by five consultants including Holles Street Master Rhona Mahony, is located next door to the hospital.
The Irish Independent highlighted the involvement of consultants in the four separate scanning companies two years ago and was informed they are in keeping with the consultants' contracts, as well being cost effective for the hospitals involved.
All of the hospitals claim they get value for money from the arrangements.
However, none were able to provide any financial analysis to show the arrangements were more beneficial than if the hospital had its own machines, or outsourced the service to independent companies.