Hospital inpatient €80 charge to be abolished from April

Ministers will also consider €50m fund for communities helping refugees

Public hospital adult inpatient charges will be abolished from April of this year under plans due to be approved by Cabinet on Tuesday.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will seek Cabinet approval to draft legislation that would abolish the €80 charge.

The abolition of the charges from April could save adults receiving inpatient care up to €800 per year. Patients are charged up to €80 per day with an annual cap of a maximum of 10 days, or €800.

The Government last year abolished the charges for children under 16 as part of moves to reduce the cost of healthcare for families.


Separately, Minister for Rural and Community Affairs Heather Humphreys will unveil details of a new €50 million find for communities who have “stepped up” in accommodating refugees from Ukraine and elsewhere. With new Minister of State for Integration Joe O’Brien, Ms Humphreys will state that the fund will go towards local clubs, play areas, and music and arts organisations.

The fund will specifically support communities across the country that have welcomed and are hosting families and citizens from Ukraine and other countries. It will go towards the refurbishment of local sports clubs and facilities; the upgrade of community facilities such as play areas, walkways, parks and community gardens; the purchase of equipment to benefit local clubs, festivals, music and arts organisations; enhancements to school or parish facilities and also transport infrastructure such as community vehicles and bus shelters.

The money will be allocated across all local authorities based on the number of new arrivals located there. It will be drawn down in 2023 and 2024.

It is understood that the two Ministers will tell Cabinet of the importance of supporting communities that have “stepped up to the plate” when it comes to welcoming people from Ukraine and other countries.

Communities will be encouraged to work with local authorities to ensure the funding is used to deliver high-quality projects.

Opt-out organ donation

Meanwhile in the Dáil, Mr Donnelly will introduce long-awaited legislation on a new system of opt-out organ donation.

The Human Tissue Bill will be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday afternoon. It will contain measures around organ donation and transplantation, postmortem practice and procedures in hospital settings, anatomical examination and public display of bodies after death.

“I am proud to be introducing this landmark piece of legislation to the Dáil. The Bill will, for the first time, provide a national legislative framework to support donation and transplant services in Ireland,” Mr Donnelly said.

“This will help increase the donor pool, but it is important to say that families will continue to be consulted ahead of donation and those individuals who object, for whatever reason, will be able to opt out.

“Transplantation is currently the only available treatment for end-stage heart, lung and liver failure. It is also the most cost-effective treatment for end-stage kidney disease, and it brings enormous clinical and social benefits to patients who would otherwise remain on dialysis.”

Separately, the Bill will also introduce a new regulatory regime to ensure best practice is followed in respect of postmortem and organ retention.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times