State has failed cancer patients yet again
That the stress of managing the cost of cancer is greater than the stress of having the disease for many patients is an indictment of a failure by the State to alleviate the burden of a debilitating, often life-threatening, disease that one in three of us will contract in our lifetimes.
The State's resources, which are improving, are not unlimited. But even in these still straitened times, measures can and must be put in place to ease the financial burden for cancer patients, one in 14 of whom do not have a medical card or private health insurance, according to a study conducted on behalf of the Irish Cancer Society.
Cancer services have been re-organised from 36 facilities into eight centres of excellence to improve outcomes for patients. But it is unconscionable that having centralised services, patients - particularly in rural areas - are bearing massive travel and parking costs as a result of Government policy. Patients are paying up to €200 a month for travel costs, with hospital parking costs peaking at €78 a month in parts of Dublin alone.