Press Release

Minister appoints Head of National Treatment Purchase Team

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin TD, today (30 March 2002), announced the appointment of Ms Maureen Lynott as Head of the National Treatment Purchase Team.

“Maureen Lynott has a track record of high achievement in both the Public and Private sectors and has been involved in a number of healthcare projects. She has been appointed as Director of the multi-disciplinary team which will drive the work of the National Treatment Purchase Fund,” said the Minister.

This team has been put together to spearhead the purchase of procedures for public patients from private hospitals in Ireland, and from international providers. It may also make use of any capacity within public hospitals to arrange treatment for patients. Where it is not possible to treat patients within a reasonable period in Ireland, either in public or private hospitals, health boards will make arrangements under the Treatment Purchase Fund to refer public patients for treatment abroad, having regard to quality, availability and cost. This will always be subject to the patient´s prior agreement and will be done in co-operation with the patient’s consultant and/or general practitioner.

The team will include input from medical, nursing and management interests. (See below) Preliminary discussions have taken place with the medical organisations and representatives of the private hospital sector in Ireland. The team has also initiated contacts with health services in other countries that have experience of operating similar schemes.

This waiting lists issue has been comprehensively addressed in the recently published Health Strategy Quality and Fairness – a system for you, which has been approved by government, and which maps out the need to increase bed capacity. The Strategy places a new focus on waiting times, and emphasises the need for immediate action.

“The Government has provided €30 million in the current year for the National Treatment Purchase Fund. This considerable investment is in addition to existing waiting list initiatives, and is over and above existing capacity in public hospitals,” said the Minister.

The National Treatment Purchase Team is initially tasked with concentrating on adults who are on waiting lists over twelve months, and in the case of children, over six months.

“The work of the National Treatment Purchase Team will be patient-centred with the aim of taking public patients who have waited longest off waiting lists by providing them with the highest standard and quality of care. The co-operation of clinicians and all those involved is sought in achieving these goals,” concluded the Minister.

Membership of the National Treatment Purchase Team is:

  • Ms Maureen Lynott, Project Manager;
  • Professor Arthur Tanner, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland;
  • Mr Pat O´Byrne, Department of Health and Children;
  • Ms Angela Kerrigan, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Northern Area Health Board;
  • Dr Patricia McDonnell, Specialist in Public Health Medicine;
  • Ms Nicole Greenan, Waiting List Project Manager;
  • Ms Valerie Nagle, Economist;
  • Nursing Advisor – to be appointed