Working arrangements between public and private systems model for future – HSE

Closer alignment of GP and pharmacy services with HSE highlighted

The working arrangement in place with the country’s 18 private hospitals is a model we can build on for the future, believes Chief Executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE), Paul Reid.

He acknowledged that any such arrangements for the future would be a matter for policy makers, but he felt there was a great need and benefit to working arrangements and alignment between both public and private health systems and describing it as “a great opportunity” at the latest HSE briefing yesterday (Thursday).

Reid underscored that it was very hard to find anything good about the pandemic for the health service, but continued that there had been much learning that we could talk about “sometime in the future” that would build a better service for the health service for the public and patients.

Over the past week alone, more than 900 of public patients were being treated as part of the agreement with the HSE in private hospitals.

He also believed the relationship and role of GPs and pharmacies, and a closer alignment with the HSE would work better for a stronger health service in the future.

“Supports of GPs and community pharmacists have served us well in this pandemic, and closer integration across the whole system can only be good for patients and everybody that uses the health service,” he told the briefing.

He highlighted the two initiatives this week which would “serve us well” in terms of the role and the model of payments for GPs and pharmacies as part of the vaccine rollout programme.

The second initiative related to the rollout of diagnostics and access to diagnostics for GPs, at a much more efficient and faster level.

He said the value of having a national public health system and a consistent approach to aspects of our responses had been demonstrated whether that was at an operational level or on a strategic level.

“I totally understand these will be issues for policy makers but I believe, when we all get the chance, it is something we should be having discussion and dialogue about,” he added.

Anne O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer, highlighted a decrease in GP activity and a reduction in terms of Covid-19 telephone consults, however, she stressed GPs still remained phenomenally busy.

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