Is Sláintecare really so equitable?
Sir, – Despite my being a hospital consultant, I am not at all opposed to the Sláintecare vision of the future, as advocated by Sara Burke and Steve Thomas (“No surprise hospital consultants dismiss idea of Sláintecare”, Opinion & Analysis, February 26th). The goal of “equitable access to . . . healthcare” can only be a good thing, and is well established in most western countries.
However, there appears to be an assumption that this step will “free up at least 20 per cent more care for public patients”. This can only happen if some patients, deemed private, go elsewhere. This they can do if private institutions exist to treat them, and they have suitable insurance. If equitable care was available to all, in as they suggest a “timely integrated” manner, who would pay for private insurance, and why would they do so?
For clarity, I had assumed that we would simply treat the same patients, but under conditions of full equality. If private patients are paying costly insurance premiums to get the same care as “the public” somewhere else – well, that’s not really “equitable” is it? – Yours, etc,