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Consultants face contract row over private treatment

A GROUP of 57 hospital consultants, who recently signed a lucrative contract to work mostly in the public system, are only treating private patients, according to the Health Service Executive.

Details supplied to the Dail Public Accounts Committee show that:

  • In the HSE Dublin North East, there are 15 consultants on the new contract treating only private patients exclusively on either an in-patient or day care basis.

  • In the HSE Dublin Midlands, the figure is five consultants.

  • In the HSE West area, 17 consultants are treating private patients exclusively on either an in-patient or day case basis.

  • In the HSE South 20 consultants on the contract are treating only private patients.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association has described the figures as "inaccurate and grossly misleading".

The HSE has said that very high levels of private practice are given for "a small number of consultants" and that this may "be reflective of a very small number of inpatient admissions".

Public Accounts Committee chairman Bernard Allen said the errors in the HSE's consultant workload summary report called into question its ability to monitor whether senior clinicians were complying with their new contract terms.

Under the contract they have a private practice entitlement ranging between 20pc and 30pc in return for salaries of up to €240,000.