The HSE has confirmed the situation is occurring because of chronic delays in finding a replacement for Ondrej Adamec.
Mr Adamec, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon now based in Prague, quit his permanent consultant post at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, last December. However, while funding has been made available to employ a replacement, nobody has been appointed to date.
As a result, Mr Adamec has been flown back to Ireland for two days every fortnight since Jan 9 in an attempt to address the growing waiting lists for key procedures.
In addition to paying his fees to work, trade newspaper the Medical Independent has revealed the HSE also pays for return flights for Mr Adamec at a cost of €178.59.
While the physician stays in Ireland, he is provided with accommodation in a house rented by the hospital and paid for by the taxpayer. A HSE Dublin North East spokesperson insisted Mr Adamec’s re-employment was vital as he was providing the only orthopaedic service available to children in the Louth hospital’s catchment area.
“Management of Louth Meath Hospital Group confirm that a visiting consultant, Mr Ondrej Adamec, is flown in from Prague, Czech Republic every fortnight.
“This arrangement is in place since Jan 9, 2012. The permanent consultant resigned on Dec 17, 2011. The application for the replacement of this post is in progress,” said a spokesperson.
According to the HSE, there are eight orthopaedic surgeons at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Its latest performance monitoring report shows there were 111 children waiting for elective day procedures when Mr Adamec left.
Of these, 72 were waiting for between six and 12 months, and 39 between three and six months.