A critical HSE audit into financial practices at the National Maternity Hospital highlights everything that is wrong with our public-private healthcare model, according to Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall.
Deputy Shortall was commenting on a HSE audit which found that the publicly-funded National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street subsidised the cash flow of a semi-private clinic in its complex for a significant period of time. The report found that top-up payments to four senior managers at the hospital breached health sector pay policy.
The Social Democrats co-leader said:
“This audit shows us in stark terms what we already know about our broken healthcare model – that public money is being siphoned off by voluntary hospitals to benefit staff and private patients at the expense of public patients.
“It is remarkable that practices such as salary top-ups continue, even when the HSE finds that they amount to violations of public pay policy. It is clear that many voluntary hospitals do not see themselves as accountable to the HSE, even though they are largely funded with public money.
“It’s high time that the Minister for Health got to grips with the opaque and unfair pay structures and governance arrangements in the voluntary hospital sector. The State is about to invest €300m in a new National Maternity Hospital which the existing Holles Street management will be part of. We cannot simply shrug our shoulders and allow business as usual to prevail when it comes to public funding of our health services.”