Saturday 19 April 2014

An extra cost that may push some over edge

THE €75 day charge may be enough to push some people to breaking point.

No patient will be denied treatment if they cannot pay upfront, but they know the debt is hanging over them.

The unexpected costs of coping with the illness already force many patients to turn to the Irish Cancer Society for aid. Hospitals can argue that medical card holders are exempt from the charge and health insurers pick up the bill for those with private cover.

Although €75 seems minuscule when compared to the free care and treatment the State provides, targeting cancer patients is a step too far.

It mirrors something of the thinking behind the decision to cut the respite grant for carers.

The impact on the financial and psychological health of individuals could be huge.

It may be time for a new directive to issue from the Department of Health excluding some categories of patients from this charge.

Irish Independent

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