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Charges for haemochromatosis patients raised with Minister Harris

Most recently, the Mater Hospital, Dublin, Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, and Louth County Hospital have introduced the charge for haemochromatosis patients, while a number of other hospitals already have the charge in place, according to the IHA.

“This very unjust charge mainly affects those patients who haven’t either a medical card or private health insurance. The charge of €80 has a ceiling of €800,” IHA Chairperson Ms Margaret Mullett told the Medical Independent (MI).

Newly-diagnosed haemochromatosis patients may need four venesections in a month to reduce the iron overload in their blood caused by haemochromatosis. This will cost them €320 and some “have had to cancel vital appointments because of the prohibitive charge”, Ms Mullett claimed.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has two designated clinics for haemochromatosis patients in Dublin and one in Cork, which offer free venesection and treat the collected blood of those who meet its donation criteria so it can be used in the national supply.

“However, the patients in the other 24 counties are very disappointed and angry that the IBTS doesn’t provide extra clinics, even mobile clinics, to service the rest of the country. We have worked very hard for the last 16 years to raise awareness of haemochromatosis and having done that, there is no equity of access to venesection. It is heartbreaking,” Ms Mullett told MI.

The IHA was due to meet the HSE last week to discuss the issue. Almost 1,300 people have signed a petition to date calling for the charges to be scrapped.

  1. Josephine Baker on September 26, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Hi, While I was diagnosed with Haemachromatosis 3-4 years ago I have just recently been told I must have venesections every week for at least the next 12 weeks but likely for longer. I do have a VHI plan which I am hoping will cover me for the first 10 after which I am not sure what I will do as I simply could not afford to have a venesection done every week at those rates. So maybe one per month will be all I can have.
    It does not make sense to me that a condition which can cause all sorts of health problems could be neglected in this way. To treat it early could help to prevent illness and other medical conditions developing and thereby reduce costs to the health system at a later date. We need long term preventative action not short sighted,short term cost effective action.

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