Press Release

Statement by the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D. on the publication of Annual Report of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, 2008

Welcoming the publication today (Monday, 18th May ) of the 2008 Annual Report of the National Treatment Purchase Fund and the excellent progress being made, the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D. said ;

“The benefits to public patients of the service provided by the NTPF is very clear: median waiting times have been greatly reduced to 2.6 months.

“This contrasts with the situation beforehand where many patients waited for 2-5 years for their treatment, without the benefit of a definite appointment for treatment, and without hospitals in the private sector being made available to them.

“This utterly gives the lie to ludicrous recent claims by Dr James Reilly, Fine Gael spokesman on Health, that the NTPF ‘has achieved zero’ (Saturday View, 2nd May 2009).

“He was also totally wrong to claim that the cost of NTPF operations are three times those in the public sector. The cost of operations in public hospitals are measured by the ‘casemix cost’. NTPF costs are comparable. They are scrutinised by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and no audit has shown anything of the sort claimed by Dr. Reilly.

“It is about time that both Fine Gael and Labour acknowledge and support the excellent public service for public patients provided by the NTPF, instead of promising to abolish it. It is a very valuable addition to the services provided by public hospitals. It was established solely to benefit public patients and that is what it does.

“In relation to services for children, waiting times will be reduced by better co-operation and greater efficiency in the use of resources between the three Dublin hospitals providing specialist paediatric services, alongside appropriate referrals to the NTPF, particularly for day case procedures.”