Dáil Éireann - Volume 359 - 25 June, 1985

Written Answers. - Hospital Fees.

124. Tomás Mac Giolla asked the Minister for Health the total costs, in respect of the last five years, incurred by his Department for hospital charges and consultant's fees arising from the treatment of road traffic accident victims; and the amounts of money, if any, recovered by his Department from insurance awards or from the insurance companies involved.

Minister for Health (Mr. B. Desmond): It has not been the practice to determine actual costs of maintenance and treatment for individual patients, or for patient categories. Consequently it is not possible to state, with any degree of precision, the total cost to the Exchequer involved in the provision of services for road traffic accident cases.

Charges in respect of the treatment of such cases were levied by the hospitals concerned. Charges initially raised related to the hospitals concerned. Charges initially raised related to the hospital's overall average daily costs covering both maintenance and treatment. These charges were subject to reduction or waiver in the light of the amount, if any, of damages or compensation received by the persons liable for the charges. In the years 1980 to 1984, inclusive, receipts in respect of services provided for road accidents cases amounted to approximately £7 million.

There is generally a considerable time lag between the initial raising of charges and the receipts of payments. Consequently substantial amounts were outstanding at the end of the period mentioned in respect of services provided [1689] during the period. On 16 December 1983 the Supreme Court held the Regulation, under which the charges were raised, to be ultra vires the power of the Minister and void. Amending legislation will shortly be introduced which will, in effect, restore the position which existed prior to the Supreme Court decision.

125. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Health the total weekly cost of keeping a patient at the Southern Health Board's Regional Hospital, Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Health (Mr. B. Desmond): Based on estimated expenditure for the Regional Hospital, Cork, in 1984, and allowing for the cost of out-patient services, the estimated average in-patient cost for the hospital for that year was approximately £762 per week.