Ireland could possibly lose out on saving millions of euro due the lack of generic medicines available in the market. An agreement reached last year stipulated that once a generic brand became available, the original provider would drop their price by 30%. 10,000 packets of a branded Pfizer good were sold in the first two months of the agreement versus just 3 of the generic product. There are fears that others will now not want to enter the Irish market.
An RTE expose into waiting lists on the HSE revealed that 49,000 people were effectively ‘hidden’ from waiting lists due to the National Treatment Purchase Fund’s reporting guidelines which saw them adopt ‘international best practice’ for collating the lists. Pre-Admit and Pre-Planned patients were not counted in the total figures and these amounted to 49,000. There are now more than 630,000 people on waiting lists.
Bon Secours Private Hospital has taken over Barrington’s Hospital in Limerick for a rumoured €15m. Chief Executive Bill Maher outlined plans including ‘extensive refurbishment, recruitment of additional consultant staff and the introduction of new services’.
There are approximately 23,000 beds in 433 nursing homes in Ireland with average occupancy at 94%. Long-term facilities are crucial in the sector due to people living longer. In 2011 there were 58,200 people aged over 85 and it is estimated that by 2036, the figure will grow to 179,500. There were 25 planning permissions granted in 2016 for new developments and 2017 should see the 149-bed nursing home completed in Coolock with an 89-bed development completed in Wicklow.
Irish Life Health (a merge of Aviva Health & GloHealth) incurred losses of €5.7m in the first five months of operation. There were however revenues of €85m.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association has warned of the risks at play due to a c.€1.7bn decrease in hospital capital spending over the last 10 years. There are several pieces of obsolete equipment in hospitals over a decade old with manufacturers or guarantees no longer supporting them. Hospital equipment over 10 years old includes:
45% of anaesthetic equipment
50% of ventilators
52% of theatre tables & others
32% of monitoring equipment
11% of flexible endoscopes
The HSE has forecast that just 25% of the country’s ambulance stations are fit for purpose. There are currently 96 locations and 54 of these require replacement, 21 are fit for purpose with the remainder requiring refurbishment.