Monday 25th April 2016




Private Hospitals Association Proposals would reduce waiting lists and free up beds in public hospitals


The Private Hospitals Association (PHA) today published 6 proposals* which it believes will bring significant, positive, outcomes for patients, support the public health system and ease some of the pressures it is facing in the coming years.


Every year, the association of 19 hospitals providing acute medical and mental health services, makes over 1 million bed nights available, treats 400,000 patients, carries out over 250,000 procedures and completes 3 million diagnostic tests.  PHA members undertake around 50% of all heart surgeries and 65% of all spinal surgeries carried out every year and provide one in ten inpatient psychiatric beds in Ireland.


The Association today set out six steps which the incoming Minister for Health should take:


  1. Design a joint public and private sector initiative to tackle waiting lists for both inpatient and outpatient treatments including a focus on diagnostics; 
  2. Move patients more quickly through Emergency Departments by using all available beds in both the public and private sectors;
  3. Address the gaps delaying patient treatment by launching a coordinated approach to attracting consultants and other health professionals to work in Ireland;
  4. Introduce a new competitive system for commissioning hospital care by 2018;
  5. Coordinate planned investment in medical facilities and equipment to avoid duplication, get value and create efficiencies;
  6. Establish a task force to boost co-operation between public and private healthcare systems.


Recently appointed PHA CEO, Simon Nugent said: “We must focus on three things: Patients, Planning and Partnership.  If we all plan together, there is great scope for private hospitals to help the Minister for Health and the HSE tackle the challenges they are facing.  Our members can help in the treatment of many waiting-list patients but we can only make a significant impact if we work in close partnership with the public hospitals system”.


Taking, as a case study, recent media coverage about patients facing long delays for diagnostic tests, Nugent said: “No patient should need to wait longer than three months for an MRI or an endoscopy. We have the equipment. We have the skilled staff. We should just make a plan and clear that backlog”.


The PHA’s proposals have a twin focus – to help tackle the increasing waiting lists in the short term and to address some of the underlying longer term challenges in the health system.


“The new Government will want to deliver effective, good quality services for all patients.  While the quality of care delivered is relevant, the location or provider should not be.  The PHA’s suggested approach will deliver better patient outcomes, and these should be the incoming Minister’s priority.” Nugent concluded.


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* About our proposals

Six proposals to improve patient outcomes through collaboration between private hospitals and the public health care system in Ireland