Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society Averil Power said cancer patients without a medical card or private health insurance face inpatient charges of up to €800 a year for treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Where the charges are not paid within 47 days, HSE policy is that they may be pursued by a debt collection agency.

“These are patients who are very sick, who are already having to cope with the emotional and physical impact of cancer.

To be pursued in such a frightening way by your public hospital system is incredibly unfair.”

Call for halt to collection agencies pursuing cancer patients (RTÉ)

‘It is totally unacceptable’ – Irish Cancer Society calls on HSE to stop referring cancer patients to debt-collectors (The Irish Examiner)

Listen to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland item here

Pic: BBC

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17 thoughts on “Sick

  1. postmanpat

    Why don’t the ICS cover the bills for hard luck cases? Or even half? surely this exactly why charities exist. no? I didn’t think so. They have the money. But Irish Charities are what they are. they provide “emotional” support (ie nothing) they are a bit of a “isn’t my time a tax” Geldof types.

      1. postmanpat

        HA! you got E D I T E D anyway. no getting past the broadsheet mods today. Why did my use of ‘hard luck cases’ trigger you anyway? It not offensive language, is it?

  2. Starina

    47 days. jeepers. People generally have to take time off work during chemo rounds.

    What’s the legal requirement for wages during chemo, does anyone know? Like if I had to take 6 weeks off to go through chemo (knock on wood) would I be at risk of homelessness?

    1. Mickey Twopints

      Employers in Ireland are under no obligation to pay you for being off sick. In fact you can be sacked. *If* you have a sufficient number of PRSI contributions in the *relevant* qualifying period, you may qualify for sickness benefit. €198 per week for single person. Otherwise, you’re all on your own.

  3. Daisy Chainsaw

    After a hospital stay last year, I paid my €720 bill off in installments when I got paid every other week. I couldn’t afford to do it any faster than that and they passed it on to a debt collection agency. I only had €80 left on the bill so I paid that to the hospital, but the debt collectors kept harassing me because I didn’t pay it to them. I ended up having to get onto the hospital accounts section to confirm that I had no outstanding payments to make in order to stop them ringing me every other day.

    1. realPolithicks

      I’m sorry you had to deal with that Daisy, its bad enough dealing with illness without having to deal with debt collectors.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        Thanks. I don’t object to paying, but given the circumstances, allowances need to be made to give people a longer time frame to pay hospital bills along with life’s other bills.

    2. Fact Checker

      Ireland has a cr@ppy system where many people have an income that is too high for a medical card but too low for private insurance.

      I would go full universal health insurance, with co-payments depending on income.

      Poor should pay a little, and the rich a lot more.

  4. Junkface

    This is really low. Ireland has to decide if we want be like America or Europe. Being like America means killing the sick earlier, overcharging them for treatment and medicine, and having zero compassion. Really disgusting
    The European approach to healthcare is far more Humane.

    1. Fact Checker

      Actually US healthcare is really, really good. It’s just very expensive.

      US life expectancy is artificially low because of gun prevalance (mainly additional suicides) and the fact that they crash their cars alot.

      If you are really sick there is nowhere in the world better than a teaching hospital in a big US city.

  5. SOQ

    It doesn’t really matter if it was cancer or something else, the woman was clearly very ill. To go chasing someone like that is not the mark of a civilised society, especially given the amount of money being squandered by those very same people.

    Disgusting.

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