There is a "complete lack of transparency" about the contracts between the HSE and the private hospitals, especially when many such hospitals remain "substantially empty".
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly, who has again raised the issue of the agreement between the HSE and the private hospitals with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, in light of the "range of concerns" arising from these agreements.
According to Dep Connolly, there is a "complete lack of transparency" about the substance of the contracts, with only the "bare heads of agreement" made available to TDs. However, Minister Harris, in the Dáil last week, said he would not publish details of the individual contracts as that information was deemed "commercially sensitive".
'The hospitals in question remain substantially empty'
Dep Connolly said that, more than two months after the signing of the agreement, no service level agreements have been completed with each of the hospitals. "In the context of the payment of up to €115 million per month the secrecy surrounding the detail is completely unacceptable," she said.
Dep Connolly also pointed out that, while payments under this agreement are in advance, "the hospitals in question remain substantially empty".
The TD also understands that the occupancy figures for the two private hospitals in Galway are between 20-30 per cent. She further alleged that this rate of occupancy has been achieved by the transfer of patients from the public hospitals in Galway.