Wednesday, 3 June 2020
Department of Health
725. To ask the Minister for Health if the fast tracking process of opioid substitution therapy implemented as part of the NPHET response to protect vulnerable groups deemed to have an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 will be maintained. [9511/20]
726. To ask the Minister for Health the phase under which therapy services to children usually a mixture of occupational therapists and speech and language therapists can expect to return to delivering therapy services to children according to the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. [9514/20]
727. To ask the Minister for Health the location and name of the private hospitals that were taken in charge during the Covid-19 pandemic; the number of beds that this entailed by hospital in tabular form; the number of beds per day that were used for public patients on a daily basis by hospital since the Covid-19 pandemic in tabular form; when the contract is proposed to end; and the estimated eventual cost in this regard. [9525/20]
A major part of the Government's Action Plan in response to Covid-19 was to substantially increase the capacity of public healthcare facilities to cope with the anticipated additional demand. In order to urgently ramp up capacity for acute care facilities, an arrangement was agreed with the private hospitals to use their facilities as part of the public system on a temporary basis, to provide essential services. A Heads of Terms of an Agreement between the HSE and the Private Hospitals was agreed at the end of March 2020 and all 18 of the acute private hospitals signed up to it. Under the arrangement, all patients in the private hospitals are treated as public patients and their treatment is prioritised based on clinical need. Provision was made under the agreement to allow for continuity of care for patients who were in a private hospital or attending for treatment at the time the Heads of Terms of the Agreement were agreed, on the grounds that these patients would be treated as public patients.
The agreement was reviewed at the end of May and the Government decided that the existing arrangement should not be extended beyond the end of June. It has however mandated the HSE to negotiate a new arrangement with private hospitals which would provide the HSE with full access to private hospital capacity in the event of a surge of Covid-19 and separately with ongoing agreed access, to enable the HSE to meet essential and elective care needs.
Under the agreement payment to the private hospitals is on a cost only Open Book model whereby the hospitals are to be reimbursed only for the operating costs properly incurred during the period. The costs that will be covered will be limited to normal costs of operating the hospital. While the private hospitals are paid a monthly sum equal to 80% of estimated monthly costs, the hospitals will only receive their actual operating costs when these have been verified. The final cost will be verified by independent firms of accountants appointed by the HSE and the private hospitals and there will be an arbitration mechanism in place in the event of any disagreement. As the funding of the agreement is based on cost recovery, validated costs will not be available until the agreement is completed, however it is estimated that the cost of the agreement will be of the order of €300m.
As the hospitals are private enterprises, the detailed information regarding payments to individual hospitals or hospital groups is commercially sensitive and therefore in line with the Heads of Terms regarding confidentiality these details will not be published. In the interests of transparency, it is intended to publish summary financial information regarding the arrangement in due course.
The HSE has been working with National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to establish a mechanism to allow for return of electronic data from Private Hospitals. This system went live on the week ending 18th May with guidance issued to private hospitals around the process for submission of data. In order to ensure early reporting of activity the HSE has put a manual data reporting system in place with private hospitals. This supports the return of a limited dataset which remains subject to validation based on electronic data returns through the NTPF.
While the current dataset does not provide for the full range of information the Deputy has requested, details regarding bed occupancy and the volume of procedures undertaken by private hospital’s are set out in the attached document.
In order that the Deputy be provided with the most up to date financial position, I have referred your question to the HSE and asked them to respond to you directly.
|Hospital||Inpatient Beds||Daybed Capacity||Critical Care Capacity||In-patient occupancy|
|Bons Secours Cork||Cork||183||52||10||67%|
|Bons Secours Dublin||Dublin||107||66||35%|
|Bons Secours Galway||Galway||73||36||8||42%|
|Bons Secours Limerick||Limerick||10||27||15%|
|Bons Secours Tralee||Tralee||87||39||83%|
|Mater Private Cork||Cork||60||15||46%|
|Mater Private Dublin||Dublin||196||27||9||49%|
|Sports Surgery Clinic Santry||Dublin||63||21||8%|
|St. Vincent’s Private||Dublin||180||7||6||82%|