Galway East TD and Minister for Rural Affairs Seán Canney has welcomed the new partnership between the Health Service Executive and the Private Hospitals’ Association as “the right course of action” in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
Minister Canney said: “We face a global crisis and our national response requires that everyone puts their shoulder to the wheel.
“This is a three-month arrangement, which will involve the Private Hospitals’ Association leasing its hospitals to the HSE for use as public hospitals.
“Both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients will be treated in the hospitals under the arrangement, which will be available for review on a mutually agreed basis.”
The private hospital sector has 19 hospitals with an estimated capacity of 1,900 inpatient beds, 600 day beds, 47 intensive care unit beds and 54 high dependency unit beds.
The sector’s capacity includes 1,000 single bed inpatient rooms, while it will provide an additional 194 ventilators and nine laboratory services at various sites.
Minister Canney added: “The partnership arrangement will offer vital additional beds and services at a time when they are most needed.”

The private hospitals will work in co-operation with the Hospital Groups within their regions based on best clinical practice.

The HSE will pay for the cost of running the hospitals and treating public patients. The private only Consultants, who carry out work for the private hospitals will be offered a locum public contract, Type A for the duration of the arrangement.

The private hospitals will retain their own staff for the duration who will help keep the hospitals operating, but will not become public employees.

National Action Plan in response to COVID-19:
In response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus the Government approved a National Action Plan in response to COVID-19 which it published on March 16. A major part of the Action Plan is to substantially increase the capacity of healthcare facilities to cope with the anticipated additional demand. International experience indicates that with the rate of spread of the virus, which poses serious challenges to existing healthcare capacity, it is critically important the HSE urgently has access to the maximum level of capacity available.

As part of the Action Plan to urgently ramp up capacity for acute care facilities, negotiations have been ongoing with the Private Hospitals’ Association to use their facilities for the treatment of COVID-19 and non COVID-19 patients. The plan is to use private hospitals as part of the public system on a temporary basis to provide essential services. Private hospitals may also be used to undertake urgent non-COVID-19 elective procedures with patients being transferred to these facilities, so as to free up capacity in major public hospitals.
For more information, contact Minister Canney on 086-2513639
March 30 2020