Proposal to penalise hospitals that miss waiting list targets

Oireachtas group argues for wide-ranging changes to remedy health service problems

Hospitals should be financially penalised if they fail to meet waiting list targets, draft recommendations from the Oireachtas committee on healthcare propose.

The committee, chaired by Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall, calls for emergency department charges to be removed and levies for access to public hospital care to be abolished.

No patient should wait for more than 12 weeks for inpatient care, or 10 weeks for an outpatient appointment, along with 10 days for a diagnostic test. Individual waiting lists should be published for each hospital and each speciality.

The Minister for Health should be held legally responsible and accountable for the delivery of healthcare and the health system, though a new independent board should be appointed to the Health Service Executive (HSE).


The director general of the HSE would be accountable to this board and it would, in turn, report to the Minister. In return, the HSE would cut its numbers of senior managers.

Consultants should be allowed to carry out only public work in public hospitals. Private work should be reduced from 20 per cent to none over a number of years.

The health service should be funded from general taxation However, multi-year budgets must be developed to create stability and increase predictability for managers and providers.

Primary care funding should be ringfenced, say the draft recommendations which were produced after months of hearings and are due to be sent to the Minister for Health Simon Harris by the end of May.

The health service budget must be expanded by €350-€400 million per year to allow for universal healthcare, though Ministers have already rejected the call to cut tax breaks for private health insurance.