Aug 4, 2006

Private healthcare in Ireland - why bother?

Irish Hospital consultants have questioned the benefits of paying for private health insurance. Some claim going private does not necessarily ensure a fast-track to the operating table and that chronically ill patients are often better off in the public system.Citing the reduction in procedure waiting times under the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), the private sector’s inability to treat patients and the escalating cost of health insurance, they believe the benefits of having private health insurance are diminishing.Consultant neurologist Dr Orla Hardiman, director of neurology at Beaumont, and a medical adviser to the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, said that in some instances her public waiting list is actually shorter than her private waiting list.‘‘For some neurological conditions people can actually be seen more quickly in the public sector. Most neurologists have small private practices, so the number of private patients we can take is quite small. If someone has a problem that requires ongoing management and multi-disciplinary care they are better off in the public system,” she said.

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