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Grieving families of road traffic victims 'sent €100 hospital invoices'

A TD has said this shows a “terrible lack of compassion” and is “cruel”.
Feb 25th 2014, 1:43 PM 23,800 81

THE HSE HAS been criticised for sending hospital invoices to the grieving families of road traffic victims.

Martin Ferris, Sinn Fein TD, said that this “shows a terrible lack of compassion” and called for the situation to be looked at.

‘Thought it was a mistake’

Deputy Ferris said that his office had heard from a constituent who was sent the invoice after their loved one died “by the side of the road” following a road traffic accident.

The person was brought to hospital by the emergency services.

He said that the devastated constituent “thought that the invoice must have been a mistake”, so Deputy Ferris posed a parliamentary question to Health Minister Dr James Reilly, on the matter.

It was confirmed by Minister Reilly in his reply that the current emergency department charge is €100 per visit, subject to some exemptions.

There is no exemption to this charge for injury acquired through a road accident – and current HSE guidelines say that if a patient is a minor or has passed away, the invoice must be sent to the next of kin or their legal representative.

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Ferris commented:

Surely the distress and grief it causes a bereaved family to get an invoice from the HSE for A&E services, when their loved one is brought in after a fatal accident, is not worth the €100 the HSE demands.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Deputy Ferris said that it is “very insensitive” to send such an invoice to a family member. “They are after losing a loved one – the last thing they want is getting a demand notice,” he said.

“I think it should be looked at,” said Ferris.

He has called on Minister Reilly to “imagine himself in those circumstances and to put a stop to this practice immediately”.

Read: ‘Trust of the community’ needed if Dublin A&E closures go ahead>

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Aoife Barry

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