Public consultants and private work


Sir, – The Prime Time investigation of the failure of some HSE consultants to fulfil their public contracts is shocking. It clearly shows that there is an absolute failure of HSE managers to ensure that consultants fulfil their public contracts for the safe and efficient running of public hospitals.

Senior HSE managers should surely consider their positions.

There should be a full investigation of those who received payment for work not done and those who assisted them by failure of proper oversight.

We need to have effective clinical directors who can impose the necessary sanctions on those who seek to manipulate the public/private healthcare dichotomy for selfish gain. – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.

Sir, – It is grossly unethical for a consultant to cause public waiting lists to grow by not attending public clinics, and for public patients to have to suffer longer directly as a result of the deliberate policy of that consultant to attend private patients at a time when they are scheduled and paid to be attending public clinics.

The growth in the public patient waiting lists inevitably reaches crisis point, at which point the National Treatment Purchase Fund is used to send public patients to the very same private clinics that unethical consultant benefit from, or sometimes to the very same public hospital in which the patient should have been treated in by that unethical consultant as a public patient.

There seems to be no capacity issue when the patient become private. Conflict of interest springs to mind.

So the unethical consultant benefits every way. Paid by the public purse while not attending to their public duties. Paid by private patients to be seen, when scheduled to be attending public clinics, and paid by the publicly funded NTPF for the treatment of public patients, on long public waiting lists caused by that unethical consultant’s failure to attend their public clinics, in that unethical consultant’s own private clinic.

Meanwhile, all the decent consultants and other decent medical staff who are doing things right are being undermined.

Where are the individual hospital managers in all this? Do they not have a role to play in ensuring that public money is only paid to those consultants who actually do carry out their contracted hours and work?

Decent consultants and other decent health professionals trying to do the right thing and manage the flawed system being allowed by the HSE are having their energy sapped and morale destroyed and often they will leave for a different health system where things are done correctly. – Yours, etc,


Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.

Sir, – There are hundreds of people employed in the Department of Health and thousands of people employed in administration in the HSE, yet it takes a small number of journalists working for RTÉ to discover the abuse of contracts by some consultants in our hospitals.

The administration of our health service by the Department of Health and the HSE is clearly a farce – a farce being paid for by the taxpayers of this country.

It’s not only some HSE consultants that are taking us for a ride. – Yours, etc,


Celbridge, Co Kildare.

Sir, – Now I know why they wear masks.

What the programme uncovered was highwaymanship of unbelievable proportions. – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.