January 25, 2021

Waterford public patient faces €1,000 bill from private hospital

A patient who was being treated in a private hospital when it was under public control is facing a bill of more than €1,000 to have the procedure completed.

The charge has been described as “simply not acceptable” by former Waterford mayor, Cllr John Pratt.

The Labour councillor said he was “deeply concerned at a recent health case where a young patient receiving UVB treatment for severe eczema is now expected to pay approximately €1,000 to complete their treatment”.

He explained the patient had started the course in a private hospital under the Covid-19 deal.

“This patient is halfway through their treatment and now cannot finish the other half until it is paid for,” he said.

Cllr Pratt said he doubted if this was an isolated case. “The new Minister for Health must ensure patients are treated fairly and not landed with huge bills,” he said. “I have written to the minister on this, and I am asking him to intervene immediately.”

In a separate development,  Waterford Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane has criticised private hospitals for charging patients for Covid tests.

Mr Cullinane, who has been appointed Sinn Féin’s health spokesperson, said the imposition of charges of between €75 and €250 was a disgrace.

“All healthcare settings, including private hospitals, have a responsibility to keep people safe,” he said. “Reports of the imposition of charges for Covid testing is an act of bad faith by private hospitals.”

Mr Cullinane called on the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to intervene. He said patients should not have to pay these additional charges.

“Costs of Covid testing should be borne by the hospitals and not passed on to patients and families,” he added.

Shane Doran

Shane Doran is founder and Co-Managing Editor of News Now Media, incorporating KilkennyNow.ie, WaterfordNow.ie and WicklowNow.ie. He is a former newspaper editor who has held senior executive roles across five national newspaper titles, both broadsheet and tabloid. He was News Editor and Executive Editor of the Irish Independent for more than seven years and spent a number of years in South Africa where he worked as editor of The Daily Voice newspaper. Shane has held senior editorial position with The Sunday Independent, The Herald and The Irish Daily Star and has served as Executive Editor (Group) of Independent News & Media (INM), Ireland’s largest newspaper group.

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