Problems with Sláintecare


Sir, – The Sláintecare plan aims to have a single-tier hospital system where people are treated on the basis of need and not income, an equitable system of care (Home News, August 9th). Róisín Shortall repeatedly states that Sláintecare will deliver a single- tier hospital service.

I am concerned that the plan will not achieve this objective for the following reason.

In 2004, the OECD Health Equity Research Group published a paper on inequity in access to health care in 21 OECD countries and found that Ireland had the third most inequitable hospital system. The primary cause of inequity in access to hospital was private health insurance. Sláintecare is leaving private health insurance in place, for political reasons of course.

As long as we have a private health insurance funded private hospital system in parallel to our tax-funded public hospital system, we will never have a single-tier hospital service.

While we may have a single-tier public hospital system if there is no private practise allowed in public hospitals, we will continue to have much quicker access to care in private hospitals, and thereby the continuation of our current inequitable two-tier hospital system, all driven by private health insurance. – Yours, etc,


Consultant Physician/

Cardiologist (retired),


Sir, – Surely “Sláintecúram”? – Yours, etc,


Rathmines, Dublin 6.