Any group set up to examine the impact of separating private practice from the public hospital system must be fully independent and free from conflicts of interest, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD cautioned today.
Deputy Shortall was speaking as the Cabinet meets in Cork to discuss the Sláintecare blueprint for a reformed public health service. The ten-year plan was produced by a special all-party Oireachtas committee chaired by Deputy Shortall.
Deputy Shortall said:
“Disentangling of the public and private health systems is core to the Sláintecare vision of a properly functioning health service that treats everyone promptly and on the basis of medical need, not ability to pay.
“It is being reported this morning that the Cabinet is likely to decide today to establish an independent group to examine the impact of separating private practice from the public health system.
“It is vital that the task given to this group is to work out how the private and public systems can be disentangled, rather than to document obstacles to this happening. It is also crucial that experts appointed to this group are fully independent and have no conflicts of interest.
“The group’s terms of reference should be unambiguously about putting the public interest at the heart of our health system, not the vested interests of any particular groups or commercial interests.
“A number of excellent international experts gave evidence to the Oireachtas committee which produced the Sláintecare plan on best international practice on the organisation of health systems. They would be an asset to any expert group.”