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Galway’s public hospitals owed €49m in uncollected fees

Three public hospitals in Galway are owed more than €49 million by patients and insurers for unpaid fees – including unpaid Emergency Department charges.

Galway University Hospital, which includes Merlin Park and UHG, was owed around €12.6m from patients, and some €32.4m from insurance companies.

The money owed to GUH included some €3.9m in unpaid inpatient charges, as well as €2.9m in unpaid Emergency Department bills, which was an increase of around €950,000 compared with 2021.

Portiuncula University Hospital was owed in excess of €4m in unpaid charges and tariffs last year. This included around €3m from insurance companies and more than €1m from patients for inpatient and Emergency Department charges.

The amount of money owed to GUH and Portiuncula last year increased by varying amounts compared with the previous year.

Unpaid Emergency Department fees at Portiuncula, for example, had increased by 56% to some €550,725 in just twelve months.

The records were released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The records showed that GUH and Portiuncula did not pay for debt collection services last year. This is despite the HSE’s own regulations requiring hospitals to engage debt collection agencies for charges unpaid after three months.

The €49m is owed to Galway’s public hospitals at a time when the head of the HSE Bernard Gloster told an Oireachtas Committee that an additional €1.5 billion would be needed to run the health services next year.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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