Private health group says it offers 'best value' to reduce waiting lists
Hospital waiting lists could be slashed if the Government agreed a five-year plan paying private medics to deal with the overflow, it has been claimed.
A group representing many of the country's private hospitals has called for the next health minister to sit down with them and hammer out a deal.
The Private Hospitals Association (PHA) has not revealed how much it would cost the taxpayer or how much they stood to make.
But it claimed they could offer "best value" for the public purse if it was properly planned.
Simon Nugent, chief executive of the PHA, said a joint public and private sector approach could also speed up diagnosis as well as treatment.
"If we all plan together, there is great scope for private hospitals to help the minister for health and the Health Service Executive tackle the challenges they are facing," he said.
"Our members can help in the treatment of many waiting-list patients but we can only make a significant impact if we work in close partnership with the public hospitals system".
The PHA said the intensive care "crisis" in particular could be relieved by the State paying for public patients to be treated in private hospitals.
It estimates the intensive care waiting lists are claiming 300 lives in Ireland every year.