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Seanad: HSE Capital Plan 2019: Statements (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: I thank the Minister for coming to the House to discuss the capital plan. It is important that we continue to develop and improve our healthcare facilities. One of my concerns relates to the negativity about our health service. I attended a health committee meeting this morning and the way some members of the committee were speaking, including Senator Swanick's colleague, one would swear...

Seanad: Family Law Bill 2019: Second Stage (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: I welcome the Minister to the House and thank him for bringing forward this Bill. The issue has already been decided in the referendum and the necessary changes have been made. In looking back at my involvement in the court process, I remember my first family law case, which was not that long ago. The judge kept adjourning the matter and would not deal with it. This is not a criticism of...

Seanad: Family Law Bill 2019: Second Stage (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: Now.

Seanad: Family Law Bill 2019: Motion for Earlier Signature (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: I move:That pursuant to subsection 2° of section 2 of Article 25 of the Constitution, Seanad Éireann concurs with the Government in a request to the President to sign the Family Law Bill 2019 on a date which is earlier than the fifth day after the date on which the Bill shall have been presented to him.

Seanad: Family Law Bill 2019: Motion for Earlier Signature (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: On Tuesday, 5 November at 2.30 p.m.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: I thank Dr. de Buitléir and Dr. Keegan for their presentations and the work they have done in this area. I am concerned about some of the myths that abound. The review group's report shows that since 2009 the total number of doctors, including junior doctors, has increased from slightly over 7,000 to more than 9,400, an increase of 33% increase. In the same period, the number of...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: At present, 2,000 consultants do some form of private practice. They do private work either on-site in private rooms in hospitals or off-site in private rooms. I calculate that there are approximately 40,000 private outpatient appointments per week. If private work was removed from the public hospital system, in other words, consultant were not allowed to do any kind of private work, we...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: If consultants work their full 39 hours in a public hospital, where is the scope?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: Not necessarily.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: That still does not take into account the figures I have mentioned. If all private work is removed, the number of consultants will have to be dramatically increased. I am not convinced that the public system could absorb an extra 2 million outpatient appointments.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: Yes, exactly.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: Yes.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: Dr. Keegan has agreed with my point that the infrastructure is not currently in place in the HSE to absorb an extra 2 million outpatient appointments a year.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: How should that issue be dealt with over the next ten years? I have given a very conservative calculation. If consultants can no longer do private work of any description, either outside or inside hospitals, there will be an extra 2 million outpatient appointments. How do we now work towards creating capacity for that?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: No. The figures show that many private consultations take place outside of the hours that are done in hospitals. I ask Dr. de Buitléir to look at the figures for off-site consultations by consultants who have public contracts but also do private work outside of the hospital. If he adds up the figures, he will find that consultants see 2 million outpatients privately. What could...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: The contract does not allow them to do that.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: I am concerned that if a new contract is agreed, we will see a recurrence of exactly what occurred previously when people who were supposed to be on site were not on site when they should have been. That was the issue.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: The problem is that working as a doctor is a little different from working as a public servant. A doctor with a 39-hour contract will have other duties on top of that. In some cases, consultants are on call every second, third or fourth night. They may be on call every second or third weekend. It is not just about the 39-hour element of the contract. It is also about the on-call element...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Private Activity in Public Hospitals: Discussion (23 Oct 2019)

Colm Burke: I accept what Dr. de Buitléir is saying. I will mention as an example the case of someone who wants to do research, is unable to do it within the HSE structure, but is able to do it in connection with a third party. Under his or her contract, he or she might be restricted from doing the research. One of the big complaints we hear from many consultants is that they are not given an...

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