THE Dail's public spending watchdog has called on the HSE to ensure that it collects up to €74m owed to it by private health insurers.
The HSE has been under severe budget pressure, with an overspend of €360m last year.
But it is relying on hospital consultants to sign off on claim forms so that it can claim back the cost of the treatment of private patients in public hospitals.
The Dail's Public Accounts committee has now published a report stating that over €74m was owned last year by private health insurers to the HSE - with up to €8m of this outstanding for over a year. It criticised consultants for failing to sign off on the forms in time.
Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, who is the chairman of the committee, said this was no way to run a health service.
"While steps were taken through the Labour Relations Commisison to ensure that consultants signed off on claims within 14 days, we will follow up with the HSE to ensure it collects the money," he said.