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Saturday, 13th July 2019

Cancer Society calls on Government to reduce financial burden on cancer patients

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Senator Ged Nash at the launch of the Irish Cancer Society's pre-budget submission with Averil Power and Paul Gordon of the Irish Cancer Society.

Society Chief says patients feel ‘under siege’ from high statutory charges

The Irish Cancer Society has called on the Government to reduce the huge financial strain experienced by cancer patients and their families, including the over 800 patients that are diagnosed in County Louth every year.

Chief Executive Averil Power said: “Many families suffer a big drop in income when someone gets cancer. At the same time, they have to pay for everything from chemotherapy appointments to anti-nausea medication and hospital parking charges.

“With extra costs of up to €1,200 a month, they find themselves under siege financially while also trying to manage the physical and psychological burden of having cancer.”

In its Budget 2020 submission the Irish Cancer Society is calling for:

  • The removal of inpatient charges, which currently cost €80 per visit up to a maximum of €800 a year
  • A reduction in the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold from €124 a month to €100 for families and €72 for single people
  • The removal of the prescription charge for medical card holders (currently €2 per item up to a maximum of €20)
  • Reduced hospital parking charges for frequent visitors

According to Ms Power there is clear public support for such measures. “In a survey recently carried out by Core Research, almost 3 in 4 people supported the removal of inpatient charges while 6 in 10 said the drug payment scheme threshold should be reduced” she said.

“It also found those on medical cards often don’t take all their medication because they can’t afford prescription charges. More than 1 in 2 chose to pay for their child’s medication ahead of their own.

“Unable to afford essential medicines, such as anti-nausea tablets, patients’ suffer far worse side effects from their cancer treatment than they should. This is incredibly unfair and must be addressed.”

In Budget 2020, the Irish Cancer Society is also calling for sufficient funding to implement the Government’s commitments under the National Cancer Strategy. This would ensure better treatment and outcomes for cancer patients and reduce the number of people getting cancer in the future.

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