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Abolition of adult public hospital in-patient charges set to come into place from April

Portlaoise Hospital

Legislation to abolish adult public in-patient hospital charges in public hospitals has been finalised in the Dáil and is set to come into practise in the coming weeks.

The Health (Amendment) Bill 2023 was finalised in Dáil Eireann last week.

The legislation removes the acute public in-patient hospital charge of €80 per day up to a maximum of €800 in a year (including day case charges), for people accessing care as a public patient in all public hospitals.

Charges for children under 16 were abolished in 2022 and this is the next step in the removal of charges for all.

Welcoming the legislation, Minister for State Sean Fleming said: “I’m delighted to see this legislation which will allow for the abolition of adult public in-patient charges in public hospitals from April.

“This will mean that there will no longer be a charge per night for people staying overnight in public hospitals.

“This is a very welcome measure and is proof of Fianna Fáil’s support for strengthening and improving healthcare in the country while moving to healthcare being completely free at the point of delivery.

“This measure builds on the abolition of public in-patient charges for children under 16, which the Minister for Health introduced in September last year and is another significant step in ensuring that people have access to affordable healthcare services.

“All persons ordinarily resident in Ireland are eligible for public hospital services and as public patients were up to now subject to a statutory public in-patient charge of €80 per night.

“Medical card holders and certain groups of people were already exempt from these charges. Primary legislation was needed to set out the legislative amendments required to the Health Act 1970 to abolish the public in-patient charge.

“Funding was provided in Budget 2023 to abolish the acute public in-patient charge for patients in public hospitals.

“The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Act 2022, enacted last year removes the acute public in-patient charge of €80 per day (including day-case charges for children under 16 years of age in all public hospitals.

“This measure came into effect from 21st September 2022.”

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