Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Ceisteanna (227)

Billy Kelleher


230 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in tabular form the countries visited by him, his officials, officials from the Health Service Executive and members of the universal health insurance implementation group since February 2011 to investigate their health system as part of the implementation of UHI; the number of visits to each country; the names of persons on each visit; the total cost of each visit; and the outcome from each visit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32528/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

Since February 2011, two study visits abroad, one to the Netherlands and one to Germany, were undertaken by Irish officials in order to examine those countries' health systems as part of the implementation of universal health insurance.

The study visit to the Netherlands in June 2011 involved a meeting between the Irish delegation, comprising officials from my Department and the Health Insurance Authority, and the Dutch Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport and the Dutch Health Care Insurance Board. As well as considering that country's health insurance system, the meeting focussed predominantly on Risk Equalisation.

The study visit to Germany in March 2012 involved a meeting between officials from my Department and the HSE and the Inek Institute (German Institute for Hospital Remuneration). The discussions centred on hospital financing, notably Germany's experience with its DRG case-based prospective system for funding hospitals.

Both Risk Equalisation and the introduction of a Money follows the Patient funding system for hospitals are key building blocks for implementing universal health insurance in Ireland.

I see it as vital that we consult with colleagues in other countries and international bodies as part of an ongoing process to add value to our knowledge base and learn from the experience of those countries. However, I should make it clear that, ultimately, the Government's reform proposals will be designed to meet the needs of the Irish system and to ensure the best outcomes for Irish patients.

Details sought in relation to the visits are set out in the table below, including the costs arising in respect of involvement by officials from my Department in the two study visits. I have asked the HSE to forward directly to the Deputy the details associated with the attendance of the three officials from the HSE at the meeting in Germany.



Total Cost

Netherlands — 17th June 2011Meeting with the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Dutch Health Care Insurance Board.

Department of Health:Principal Officer x 2Health Insurance Authority:CEO/Registrar, Head of Research, and Head of Regulatory Affairs.

€2,344.42*cost covered by the Health Insurance Authority.

Germany — 22nd March 2012Meeting with the Inek Institute (German Institute for Hospital Remuneration).

Department of Health:Principal Officer x 1HSE:Head of Casemix Unit, General Manager/Programme Manager for Prospective Funding, and Director of Finance, St James’s Hospital (who is also a member of the Implementation Group on Universal Health Insurance).


*It should be noted that the total cost also covers costs associated with a meeting in Brussels on the 16th June 2011 between the two Department of Health officials and the EU Commission in relation to the private health insurance market.

**This is exclusive of a sum of €124 in respect of the return journey by train from Frankfurt Airport to the Inek Institute in Siegburg which was paid for by the HSE.