€44,000 Paid Per Private Bed In April


From top Health Minister Simon Harris; Larry Goodman (left) and Denis O’Brien

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil.

Rise TD Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health Simon Harris about the cost of leasing private hospitals during Covid-19.

They had this exchange:

Paul Murphy: “I want to ask the Minister about the cost of the private hospitals. The Taoiseach confirmed to me two weeks ago an estimated cost of €115 million per month for the leasing of the private hospitals.

I then later asked the Minister for Finance why we are paying more than four times as much per bed as they are in the UK, which he was not able to answer.

“I then wrote to the Minister for Finance, copying to the Minister for Health, seeking the publication of the final agreements with the individual hospitals, a detailed breakdown of the €90.2 million which has been already given to the private hospitals and asking him again to explain the discrepancy between the €44,000 paid per bed in Ireland and the €10,000 paid per bed in Britain.

“I will give one example as to why we need to see these figures. The Beacon Medical Group was bought by Mr Denis O’Brien for €35 million, according to The Irish Times. If they get €44,000 a month for 200 beds, the State will have paid more than €35 million in four months but will not own a bed at the end of that process.

“Can we get the full final agreements? Can we get a breakdown of the costs so that we can see if there is profiteering going on?

Simon Harris: “I thank Deputy Paul Murphy. I have done everything I can to be transparent in relation to this.

“First, payment will be on a cost only open-book model whereby the hospitals will be reimbursed only for the operating costs properly incurred during the period. The costs that will be covered will be limited to normal costs of operating the hospital.

“Since the rationale for the arrangement relates to the Covid-19 pandemic for which no one can provide a definitive time horizon, it is not possible to indicate a precise cost estimate attaching to the arrangement but the final cost will be verified by an independent firm of accountants appointed by the HSE and the private hospitals. There is also an arbitration mechanism in place in the event of any disagreement.

Under the heads of terms, private hospitals are funded to 80% of their estimated monthly costs in advance by the HSE.

As the Deputy says, €90.2 million was advanced to the hospitals for April.

We will independently verify that and claw back if we find any issues as we audit it. This will continue to be examined by a committee of public accounts in due course and will be subject to the normal scrutiny by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and I lay an agreement before this House.

Murphy: Directors’ pay at Beacon in 2018 was almost €1 million.

“Are we paying the directors’ pay? Are we paying the bloated pay of the CEO on top of that? These companies often officially claim to be making no profit but make intra-group transfers through transfer pricing, interest payments and fees to other companies owned by the same person.

“With that in mind, are we paying for any rents or interests to Mr Denis O’Brien, Mr Larry Goodman or any of their companies?

Specifically, do the payments we are making include rent or interest payments made directly or indirectly to companies owned by Mr Denis O’Brien or Mr Larry Goodman which are registered in Luxembourg in order to avoid paying tax?

Harris: “I will ask for the HSE or the Department to respond to the Deputy in writing on this matter in the coming days.

“I want to be clear that nobody is meant to be profiteering as a result of this. The whole purpose here is to ensure that nobody can make a profit and we pay solely according to the cost-only open-book model.

“We were in a very lucky position to be able to acquire the use of these facilities. Thank God we have not needed to use their ICU capacities yet. The HSE will respond directly to the Deputy in the coming days.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

28 thoughts on “€44,000 Paid Per Private Bed In April

  1. paddy

    Another scam, compliments of Fine Gael
    Beacon Hospital has only 14 ICU beds, these can actually be manufactured in 12 weeks using modular construction. Then we could own them and have them ready to use for future use in a matter of hours.

  2. Cian

    Getting the private hospitals was a good idea at the time.
    I juts hope that any and all payments are checked thoroughly – like they do with the court legal fees.

    1. GiggidyGoo

      This gem. ‘The costs that will be covered will be limited to normal costs of operating the hospital’
      Not limited to the costs of actual usage then?

      Whenever there’s a crisis in this country, you can see the queue forming with the FFGers friends, ready to suck the teat of the public purse.

      1. V-19

        The Private Hospitals deliver procedures at a fraction of the cost of a HSE hospital
        that gem is pretty much licence for the Privates to top up their claims to match “normal costs of operating”

        BTW, Ask Broadsheet; Anyone know if the Bons girls are at this all-you-eat buffet as well?

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Procedures conjures up scalpels, hip replacements, bypasses etc. If there aren’t any covid guests there aren’t any procedures on covid people.

          1. V-19

            I don’t know what you’re saying there

            But my point is that, lets say a Hip Replacement,
            Is performed far more efficiently and cheaper in the Private sector, than it would in a HSE Hospital
            This is a well established fact
            The HSE have been using ABC (activity based costing) internally for years, the hospitals, HSE and Voluntaries, call it Case Mix Return, where every unit of cost from accommodation to supplies, medical devices to manpower hours are allocated exactly to the activity – pretty much down to the individual treatment

            These returns prove that a Hip Replacement in say James’ is more expensive than one the NTPF pays for in say the Beacon- or wherever they buy the treatment from

            So, if a scheduled Hip Replacement for a Medical Card patient gets transferred into a private hospital setting while James’ remains on the Covid-19 front line, they can complete the treatment cheaper than had James’ done it today,
            My thing is that by applying The costs that will be covered will be limited to normal costs of operating the hospital’

            they are effectively enabling the Private Hospital the capacity to top up their cost to meet the HSE ABC costed model for the same procedure; and bill the HSE accordingly

          2. Cian

            As I mentioned below – by “normal” I should have said ‘actual’ cost.

      2. Cian

        This gem. ‘The costs that will be covered will be limited to normal costs of operating the hospital’
        Not limited to the costs of actual usage then?

        I worded that badly. Normal – as in the usual costs – not an elevated cost.
        If one nurse normally costs 5K/month and the normally have 100 nurses (total 500K/month). If during COVID they need 150 nurses then it should be €5Kx150; similarly, if they only need 75 nurses it should be €5Kx75. And staff costs should be cross-reference to Revenue for income-tax – to ensure that they numbers charged for were paid.

        If they normally spend €50K on operating theatres…but with COVID there are no operations – then there should be a €0 for operating theatres.

        So yes, based on usage.

        1. V

          The A is for Activity
          Activity based costing – real bean counting

          Not facility based costing
          Or Department based costing
          Or Job Description based costing

          So a Hip Replacement activity
          Will have all sorts of charges
          From transport, to labour -porters to anesthesia, pain relief to device / replacement joint, patient services and other overhead allocation, plus accomodation
          Whatever the input that drives the cost, and how much the particular activity consumed of that resource, is the denominator

          What you’ve described is a typical Payroll Journal

          Casemix is 1000 times more detailed, sliced and spliced.

        2. GiggidyGoo

          Cian – when you say ‘I worded that badly. Normal – as in the usual costs – not an elevated cost‘ – I’m just wondering…….

          the phrase I quoted was a phrase that Simon Harris used, according to the report. That phrase was…l “First, payment will be on a cost only open-book model whereby the hospitals will be reimbursed only for the operating costs properly incurred during the period. The costs that will be covered will be limited to normal costs of operating the hospital.”

          Why are you writing as if you are Simon Harris? “ I worded that badly” Are you his spin doctor? ROFL

          1. Cian

            If it wasn’t for those pesky kids! You have me bang to rights. I AM Simon Harris[1].


            [1] Actually I’m not Simon Harris, I saw your reply to my post and assumed the quote was me. My bad.

    1. :-Joe

      +100% haha…Ye, It will always hurt… .

      The F-f/g “Well it worked for the tories..So?” idealogy will always be painful. You can’t have winners without losers but concentrated averice and greed left unchecked guarantees the flourishing of mass suffering.

      The only good thing that ever comes out of it (Apart from it’s part in the fundamental moral engine driving part of the natural process of human evolution..) is all the artistic expression. In particular, protest songs and inspiring positive political engagment or activism.

      I’ve always forgotten how jazz’y and funky the modfather and the Style Council(Terrible name IMO) could be. Good song, cheers for the reminder…


  3. GiggidyGoo

    “Thank God we have not needed to use their ICU capacities yet.”
    Naw, sure why use them when you can transfer patients to nursing homes instead?

  4. :-Joe

    I would just like to take this opportunity to say… despite this non-government being undemocratically elected and all.. All their previous failings as per the nature and form of F-f/g party politics, it’s history and ideaology over a century. I think they are doing a fanastic job considering the circumstances…

    It must be really hard to find new angles to work with these days when the whole country is watching and waiting patiently for them to get done with skimming the cream from the top and finally getting around to at least appearing to be altruistic and actually doing something useful to help.

    Eat your fresh fruit and vegtables and vote Independent or anything else for chance at having a basic healthy democracy.


  5. Blonto

    FG always help DOB to line his pockets. It’s a given. A vote for FG is a vote for a wire transfer to the Carribean islands.

  6. Bernard Barry

    Contracts should be read and understood before being signed. One example is the fiasco that surrounds the new Children’s hospital. If the proper precautions were taken millions,if not billions could be saved and put into areas which sorely need proper funding.

    1. :-Joe

      +100% I’ll second that all day long and once again for the ignorance of his daft detractors…

      If you want a great laugh…

      The other day I heard him being interviewed on The Denis “Clinton “The Haiti “REDACTED” Menace” Foundation” O’Brien” -‘s… Corporate Business Media for the F-f/g Establishment State and Media Propagaanda Pat “Awkwardly Creepy” Kenny show – Newsderp FM… -It has to be said.. (for honesty and sanity purposes at least.)

      Anyway, Paul Murphy was being treated with the usual disdain but this time Kenny the first class eejit that he is got so frustrated by Murphy calling out the corruption and the failed non-political state that it is, that he was openly and publicly calling him a communist for daring to speak ill about the corruption of the establishment system that Kenny most dearly loves to protect.

      The best part was Paul Murphy laughing and giggling at the sheer idiocy of Kenny and the Irish corporate media style and literally just ignoring the insults on top of the biases, contempt and ill treatment as per usual.

      Another hilariously daft occurance the same day..

      In spite of Kenny’s blatently ugly behaviour in all this and the obvious frequet attempts to undermine Murphy or anyone else critical and outside of the F-f/g bubble for that matter.. was newsderp’s decision to use a clip, probably the only usable corporate fluffy filler of say nothing, know nothing, keep the breaking news going for the deluded drones clip possible.. from the interview as a soundbyte for rest of the day. It was corporate media monetisation at it’s natural best.

      It was also another rare and brief example of the greatest of radio can be as the theatre of the mind in shining another glimpse of light onto what’s really happening around every one of us underneath the surface of it all. -Hilarious to witness it live in real-time as it happened.


        1. :-Joe

          I know, right?..

          Propaganda Pat “Awkwardly Creepy” Kenny is just dire and has a long history of it.. but it pays to keep tabs on the lies and mis/dis-information being fed to the masses…

          He’s kind of fascinating to be honest. How could he have been an insider for so long and done absolutely nothing to expose the truths of what he knows? Apart from having a row on TV or the radio and usually it’s just petulent, he’s a kind of
          sad character and a wasted life. A bit like a highly intelligent version of Will Ferrell’s Anchorman but his fatal flaw is that he’s too stubborn or stupid to do the right thing.

          It might sound like masochism.. – If it’s so bad why would you listen to it? etc. but it’s actually quite interesting and entertaining to see how it all plays out sometimes.

          To be fair many of the guests are worth listening to and now and again are completely free of bias or an agenda that only suits the establishment narrative and the usual at least subtle propaganda that supports it.

          Even on newsderp Paul Murphy has had many better chances to talk before though, not much better but better than that last time nonetheless.


  7. Truth in the News

    Was there another little perk given as a trade off in this deal, the 180 odd day Tax
    exemption, in other words can “Redacted” avail of Irish hospitality for more than
    180 odd day’s……?

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