HSE needs to catch up with international norms on healthcare procurement
Posted June 28th, 2012 in News
Harris questions HSE Chief on need for ‘total healthcare model’ for procuring medical equipment and devices
Fine Gael Wicklow TD and member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Simon Harris, has today (Thursday) called on the HSE to catch up with international norms when it comes to procuring healthcare devices and equipment for patients.
Deputy Harris questioned the HSE Chief Executive, Cathal Magee, on the matter when he appeared before PAC today.
“It is quite astonishing that the HSE continues to operate in little silos. Each section makes its own savings without considering the impact of their work on the overall budget of the health service or, more importantly, on the impact of their decisions on patients.
“This goes down to the most basic level. For example, the procurement section may decide to save money by buying lower-cost bandages. But they don’t consider the fact that these lower quality bandages may need to be changed more often – piling more costs on the primary care section.
“It seems that everyone within the HSE is encouraged to look after their own patch, with no co-ordinated method to ensure genuine overall savings for the taxpayer.
“I was glad to hear Cathal Magee acknowledge that the HSE needs to introduce a model of budgeting and procurement based on total healthcare costs. We could learn a lot from our neighbours in Britain; the NHS sees investment in medical devices and equipment as something that can actually save the health service money and improve patient outcomes.
“This is just the sort of big picture thinking our health service needs. We continue to spend a smaller percentage of our health budget on medical technology than the UK, and we are well below OECD recommendations. A change of attitude is badly needed on this front.
“I welcome the commitment from the Cathal Magee that the health service will move in this direction. This now needs to be turned into action for patients and the hard-pressed Irish taxpayer.”