Oireachtas health committee told it cannot investigate voluntary section 38 hospitals

Committee cannot examine finances of hospitals until PAC has completed inquiries

National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, was among hospitals health committee sought to investigate

National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, was among hospitals health committee sought to investigate

 


The Oireachtas health committee has been told it cannot investigate voluntary section 38 hospitals, which are funded via a public-private split, because the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is doing so.

The health committee sought to investigate finances and issues such as allowances at hospitals such as Tallaght, Beaumont, the Mater, the National Maternity Hospital and the Rotunda.

However, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has raised concerns about “the suitability” of the health committee meetings going ahead at the same time it is engaged with the PAC on the issue.

TDs and Senators on the health committee were informed of the development by the committee’s clerk yesterday, and a meeting scheduled for today at which the issue was due to be discussed has been cancelled.


‘Seized’
“It is now clearly established that the PAC is ‘seized of this issue’,” Paul Kelly, the clerk, wrote in an email. “It is not a matter which this committee can now examine until the PAC have fully completed its examination of the issue.”

The committee’s orders of reference say it “shall not consider any matter which is being considered, or of which notice has been given of a proposal to consider, by the Committee of Public Accounts”.

Mr Kelly added: “It is therefore proposed that the committee has no option at this time but to cancel [today’s] meeting until such time as the PAC had disposed of the matter.”