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One in two say Sláintecare health plan to end two-tier system is unachievable


Director Laura Magahy resigned. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Director Laura Magahy resigned. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Director Laura Magahy resigned. Photo: Steve Humphreys

More than one in two people believe Sláintecare, the blueprint to end the two-tier health system, is not achievable, a new survey reveals.

The lack of public confidence expressed by 54pc of people comes as public hospitals are having to impose widespread cancellations of procedures and surgeries for waiting list patients as Covid-19 threatens to push them to the brink next month.

The survey – which will be revealed at the annual conference of the Private Hospitals Association today – also reveals how 62pc believe Sláintecare will take at least 15 to 20 years to implement, if at all.

The timeline for its implementation was set at 10 years in 2017, but in recent months it has been delivered a major setback following the resignation of its director Laura Magahy and chairman Tom Keane over the pace of key areas of reform.

Central to its aim is to remove private care from public hospitals.

The survey found 62pc of people agree doctors should not be allowed to practice private medicine for fee-paying patients in public hospitals.

But it also showed how many believe a partnership between public and private hospitals would mostly benefit patients without insurance.

The survey found 69pc say healthcare should be planned and delivered by public and private hospitals working together rather than separately, while 83pc say public waiting lists should be tackled in partnership with private hospitals.

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HSE chief Paul Reid said yesterday that around 1,000 waiting list patients have suffered cancellations in the last four weeks.

He said he hoped to extend the number of bed days currently used by the HSE for public patients in private hospitals from over 1,000 to 3,000, although it is unclear if any agreement has been secured on this.

Around eight intensive care beds in private hospitals are currently being used by the HSE.

Public hospitals have 301 permanent intensive care beds and hope to create another 50 temporary ICU beds. However, the modelling forecast warns 400 Covid-19 patients may need critical care by the middle of next month.

The survey findings to be released at the conference – which will be addressed by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly – showed 58pc of people have private health insurance.

Of the 50pc who had recently sought private healthcare, 67pc described the experience as either very good or good.

Another 21pc said it was OK and 12pc described it as poor.

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