Dáil Éireann - Volume 437 - 16 December, 1993
Written Answers. - Waiting List Initiative.
Mr. Deenihan Mr. Deenihan
25. Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Health if, in view of the EC Directives on open tendering for public sector purchasing, he will ensure that the health boards and departmentally funded hospitals put out to public tender waiting list work, and give our private hospital sector an opportunity to quote for the business.
Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin) Brendan Howlin
Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin): All health agencies are aware of their obligations under the relevant EC directives in relation to purchasing contracts. Under the waiting list initiative which I launched earlier this year, the Deputy will be aware that my Department entered into agreements with health boards and hospitals throughout the country whereby some 17,000 additional patients, over and above the normal throughput, would be treated this year.
A central feature of the initiative is that the agreed additional activity targets would be achieved by individual agencies in 1993. It was also made clear to the agencies involved that where they were  satisfied that their own hospitals could not achieve the agreed targets, for whatever reason, they should endeavour to have the operations carried out elsewhere.
In all such cases, it is a matter for the agency concerned to satisfy itself fully that the contracting hospital can meet the requirements in terms of timeframe, cost and quality of care.
The Deputy may be aware that, due to difficulties in recruiting a locum consultant orthopaedic surgeon, the Southern Health Board was not in a position to carry out the 300 additional hip replacement operations for which they had contracted. In these circumstances, the board made arrangements with the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast to perform the operations on a contract basis. Before entering into a contract with the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, the Southern Health Board approached all the suitable public and private hospitals in the country. The board awarded the contract to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, on the basis of competitive cost and the ability of that hospital to meet the board's requirements in terms of timescale and quality assurance.
Dáil Éireann 437 Written Answers. Waiting List Initiative.