Dáil debates

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna - Questions

Cabinet Committee Meetings

4:05 pm

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the news that the Minister for Health is set to report to Cabinet this week that eliminating private medicine in public hospitals could free up 2,000 hospital beds around the country and reduce waiting lists by 25%. This follows the expert review carried out by Dr. Donal de Buitléir. Specifically, the group noted that removing private activity from public hospitals is technically feasible but dependent purely on political will. Ireland has the highest proportion of private health care insurance of any European country, representing 45% of the population, according to the Health Insurance Authority. In 2018, premium income from private health insurance rose to €2.85 billion. If plans to end private medicine in public hospitals were followed through, it is suggested that private facilities and, ultimately, the demand for private insurance would become redundant over approximately ten years. These sums would then be freed up to be invested in quality, single-tier public healthcare systems. Will the Taoiseach confirm if he intends to push through these reforms to eliminate private medicine in public hospitals?


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