Sunday 25 August 2019

Taxpayers to fund private units in €1.7bn National Children's Hospital

Paul Reid: New boss is to examine how HSE managers are deployed. Photo: Tony Gavin
Paul Reid: New boss is to examine how HSE managers are deployed. Photo: Tony Gavin
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The construction of taxpayer- funded private facilities in the new €1.7bn National Children's Hospital will go ahead, HSE director-general Paul Reid has confirmed.

The private facilities in the new hospital at the St James's Hospital campus are being built despite the Sláintecare plan for the future of the health service saying private medicine will be removed from public hospitals.

Mr Reid, a native of Finglas in north Dublin, said he values the private system but wants to maximise facilities in the public service.

The removal of private practice from public hospitals is ultimately a matter for Government policy, he said in a radio interview with RTÉ's Sean O'Rourke.

There are currently 47,717 children waiting to see a specialist on public outpatient waiting lists.

He also signalled he will be examining the way HSE managers are deployed.

The HSE has long been criticised for an over-abundance of managers, making it too "top heavy".

Mr Reid said he wants to ensure there is as much support as possible for front-line workers but he did not spell out what this meant for managers in their existing roles.

He said front-line staff are delivering services in "difficult circumstances".

Overall, he wants to move more services out of hospitals and into the community as part of the Sláintecare aim.

Currently, the main entry into the health system is through acute hospitals, he added.

He also believes none of the capital projects in the health service will be knocked off course because of the overspending in the construction of the new children's hospital.

The Irish Independent last week revealed a briefing document from senior staff as he took up the job in mid-May, warning him of the safety risks of tight budgets.

Irish Independent

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