The HSE has reportedly hired a debt collector to pursue the parents of a four-year-old cancer patient for an outstanding €1,000 bill.
The shocking case was brought to light this week by lobby group Our Children’s Health, who said that the family were left with the debt after being refused a discretionary medical card.
According to The Examiner, the four-year-old boy was treated at a midlands hospital and a debt collector has now been called in to recoup the amount owed to the facility.
Organisation spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told the newspaper that “zero progress” had been made in addressing the discretionary medical card crisis, with a growing number of families left facing mounting bills as they attempt to care for their children.
He added that four other children, aged two and seven and also fighting cancer, had been refused help this month, with an application from a family whose child is terminally ill due to muscular dystrophy also being rejected.
The news comes following the high-profile case of eight-year-old Lucy O’Connor, who was recently refused a medical card by the HSE to help with her cancer treatment bills at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
Despite the claims, Health Minister Leo Varadkar has remained adamant that the situation is improving, with further details on reform expected today.
“I reject the suggestion nothing has changed. Discretionary medical cards are no longer subject to random reviews. No card issued on the basis of a terminal illness should be reviewed. End dates are no longer included on the cards. However, this is still a work in progress. And that means in some cases medical cards are being refused,” he said.
The HSE has refused to comment on the case due to data protection laws.