Wednesday 13 December 2017

HSE boss questions future of "parasitic" St Vincent’s Private Hospital

St Vincent's Hospital
St Vincent's Hospital
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The head of the HSE has called into question the viability of St Vincent's Private Hospital, saying it has a “parasitic dependence” on the adjacent State-funded public hospital.

Tony O'Brien said be believed 56pc of admitting consultants operating in the south Dublin private hospital did not have contracts to work there.

He said he was concerned that a private hospital was being run off the back of a public hospital.

"It may not be a viable private hospital," he said.

Mr O'Brien told the Dail's Public Accounts Committee he had been seeking further clarification from St Vincent’s on the issue for eight months, but the information was not forthcoming.

He said "spurious reasons" such as data protection had been given for not disclosing further information on the activities of consultants. 

Mr O’Brien said a new chairman appointed at St Vincents, James Menton, had "not been as forthcoming as I would like".

The HSE funds the hospital group to the tune of €206m a year. It comprises St Vincent’s University Hospital, St Vincent’s Private Hospital and St Michael’s Hospital.

Mr O’Brien said matters were close to reaching the stage where the HSE could not accept the situation any longer.

He indicated that the special administration of the hospital may have to be considered.

Asked by Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan whether the public hospital was “being put at a loss” because consultants on public contracts were working in the private hospital, Mr O’Brien said: “It may well be”.

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