Public hospital in-patient charges to be abolished

The government is set to announce the abolition of hospital in-patient charges.

The cabinet agreed today (Tuesday) to end charges for in-patients at public hospitals.

In-patients in acute public hospitals are currently charged €80 per day, which will be removed by the proposal agreed at cabinet today. The government aims to have the policy implemented by April 2023, building on the 2022 policy of removing in-patient charges for under 16s.

Green Party health spokesperson, Neasa Hourigan TD, said the party had strongly supported the policy in government as part of the wider Sláintecare reform plan, which envisions healthcare being free at the point of delivery.

"This is a welcome staging post to Sláintecare. Healthcare is a fundamental right, which should be provided freely at the point of delivery.

"The average in-patient in an acute hospital stays between 5 or 6 days. This racks up a substantial cost, often coming at a difficult time. Removing this cost will allow patients to focus on physical recovery, rather than financial worry.

"Sláintecare rightly has support across political parties and government. We need to keep up the pressure to get it implemented. Recent weeks have shown once again the need to reform Ireland's health service, and deliver care that is both exemplary and equitable."