University Hospital Galway may lose €38 million income from private patients

Galway Daily news UHG is the second most overcrowded hospital in Ireland again this week

University Hospital Galway faces losing €38.2 million worth of income from insurance payments for private patients under the new healthcare plan.

Sláintecare, the plan for the future of public healthcare for the next ten years, calls for removing patients using private healthcare from public hospitals.

An investigation is currently being undertaken by the government to see if this is a feasible idea, and a report on its findings is due by the end of the year..

If it does take place, the Exchequer will have to make up the difference in lost income for our public hospitals like University Hospital Galway.

According to the Irish Independent the plan could create a €600 million shortfall in revenue for public hospitals in Ireland.

The worst hit would be St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, which would lose out on €47 million revenue, and University Hospital Limerick, which would lose €42 million.

Smaller hospitals would not be immune to the losses, with Letterkenny Hospital taking in €7.3 million from private patients, and Mayo General €7.8 million.

The Sláintecare Report on the future of public healthcare was released by the government and adopted by the Dáil in May of last year.

It proposes radically altering our current hospital system, which has a public/private patient mix in each hospital, by separating public and private healthcare altogether.

Public hospitals would shift their focus to creating a single-tier, universal healthcare system that isn’t focused on how much a patient can pay.

Irish hospitals have been drastically bogged down by waiting lists that show great discrepancy between public and private patients.

The report, from its inception, acknowledged that its success is dependent on a massive increase in funding for public healthcare, and the healthcare system in general.

The question is whether private hospitals, such as the Bon Secours hospital in Galway, would be able to absorb the patients migrating from the public healthcare system.

Meanwhile the Public Service Pay Commission is expected to reject claims by nurses for a general pay increase when it reports to the government in the coming weeks.

The commission was asked to examine whether there was a large scale problem with the retention of nurses in Ireland; Is there an exodus of nursing graduates from our country?

The Commission’s decision isn’t likely to sit well with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation which has said that a pay rise is needed to tackle a shortage of nurses.

The INMO says that more than 200 nurses are needed to address overcrowding in Emergency Departments, where UHG has always held a shamefully high spot on the list of hospitals with patients waiting on trolleys.

Other public sector unions had reportedly been pressuring the Commission not to cut a special deal with nurses because it would lead to knock-on claims elsewhere in the public service.