Decision not to test biopsies from private consultants reversed

A decision not to test biopsies from private consultants who have not signed the temporary HSE contract has been reversed.
Decision not to test biopsies from private consultants reversed
Fianna Fáil's health spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly,
Fianna Fáil's health spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly,

A decision not to test biopsies from private consultants who have not signed the temporary HSE contract has been reversed.

Earlier, Fianna Fáil's health spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly, said the State must not delay potential cancer diagnoses over a spat with doctors.

He said it was outrageous and extremely dangerous for patients all over Ireland that the state would instruct histopathologists not to process specimens sent in by some doctors.

“This could have potentially fatal consequences for patients,” said Mr Donnelly.

It is understood that following a change in the HSE guidance the State Claims Agency extended indemnity cover for biopsy testing.

The extension includes private consultants who are doing pro-bono work where they have the approval of the hospital concerned.

The State Claims Agency indemnifies private hospitals and consultants on the basis of parameters set by the HSE .

Mr Donnelly said there are many reasons why half of private consultants have not signed the public contracts.

“But whatever the views of the State about this, the lives of patients are not a bargaining chip,” he said.

Consultant radiation oncologist, Prof Frank Sullivan, said it would be "unethical" for him to sign the public contract as he would be abandoning 99% of his patients.

The consultant who works at the Galway Clinic warned of a “potential disaster” resulting from the delay in processing oncology slides.

“We have already come through a cervical cancer crisis which we do not want to repeat,” he said during an interview on RTÉ radio.

He said he and many of his colleagues have worked pro bono since the HSE took over Ireland's private hospitals in March.

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