Thursday 23 November 2017

Explainer: Why the new maternity hospital will have private consulting rooms for doctors

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The new maternity hospital will be built with €300m of taxpayers' money - so why does it include private consulting rooms?

We have a two-tier health system so it will cater for public and private patients. Doctors who are paid to look after insured patients will use the rooms to carry out their private work.

Q: That seems a bit outdated in the country's most modern maternity hospital? Is it subsidising private medicine?

Well, many woman want to go private. Having insurance means they are under the one consultant during their pregnancy and will have several antenatal visits.

When it comes to delivery, the consultant is also likely to be present although not guarantee.

The doctor will nominate one of their senior team to deliver the baby if they are not available.

Q: Will women who are private be given their own room?

The hospital will have single rooms for public and private patients.

The difference will be in the level of consultant-led care by the same doctor that an insured patient gets.

Q: While is it not all public care?

Because consultants have contracts which entitle them to see private patients.

And there is a demand for private care from pregnant women.

Q: Is is good or bad for the hospital?

Hospitals are always glad to get custom from private patients because they bring in income.

Roughly one-third of the national maternity hospital's income comes from private practice and this makes the hospital viable.

Q: What about the consultants - do they have to pay rent for the rooms?

Yes, they will pay a rent. The rooms will not come for free. They don't have to pay anything towards their construction, however

And once the new hospital is open they will be guaranteed a lot of business because of the attractive modern facilities - in stark contrast to the Holles St building.

Irish Independent

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