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
The agency will be able to target a range of missed payments – from A&E bills to court fines – and will have the power to raid people’s bank accounts for the money that is owed. Officials with the centralised collection agency would also be able to extract money from pensions and welfare payments.
…Carried out by consultancy firm BearingPoint, the report acknowledges how unpopular such an agency would be, as it suggested careful ‘selling’ to ministers of the benefits of such a body would be required.
….The BearingPoint experts, specially hired by the Government, have even advised that bailiffs be allowed to remove personal goods in extreme cases….
Pay Up Or The State Will Raid Your Bank Account (Senan Molony, Irish Daily Mail) unavailable online