The Irish Cancer Society tells us that
“Every 3 minutes in Ireland someone gets a cancer diagnosis…Incidence of cancer is growing and by 2020, 1 in 2 of us will get a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime.”
Yesterday the Irish Times and the Sunday Business Post informed us that VHI is allowing access to cancer drugs to their policyholders which are not available to uninsured cancer patients. RTE have followed up today expressing ‘concern as only insured patients may access new cancer drugs.’
Mr John Crown, the renowned Medical Oncologist was quoted as saying, “For the first time since I can ever recall, we have a difference in access to cancer drugs between public and private patients. It’s completely unfair. It’s going to be extraordinarily difficult now.” “I’ll be seeing public and private patients this week and I will quite possibly be giving both of them different news about what treatment is available for them and I’m not comfortable with that.”
I do not know why VHI have written to oncologists informing them that they have extended access to these new drugs for certain cancers.
I do not know why the HSE does not already give access to these new drugs for cancer patients.
There may be a reason behind it. Is it due to a lack of efficiency in HSE? Have the HSE failed to keep up with the available drugs on the market? Is it a ploy by VHI to gain a larger market share? I have no idea. Perhaps someone with the required knowledge could throw some light on that.
All I do know is that the HSE, the Health Minister, the government, the patient groups, the Irish Cancer Society and every person living in this country need to speak out immediately and put a stop to this further inequality in our Health Service. It is imperative that those who have the power within the HSE act immediately to grant access to these drugs to cancer patients today, not next week, not next month or next year. They need to act now.
According to ‘USA today’, Ireland is the 10th richest country in the world. That’s ahead of the USA at 11th, Germany at 17th, Sweden at 18th, France at 24th. Google it! type in worlds richest countries. There we are at number 10. Yet we don’t rate at all on healthcare, while France is generally acknowledged to have the best health service in the world. But there again, France is a true republic, we only pay lip service to the ideals of a republic. We do not cherish all our citizens equally, certainly not if you are ill and in need of help and support, or even a little payback for all those paye/prsi/usc contributions that you have made.
We, the people, need to think about the type of society we want to be a part of. Is the Ireland of today, the country you want it to be?
523,000 of us are on a waiting list for an outpatient appointment in a public hospital. 208,757 of those have been waiting more than nine months. Those figures include 46,300 children.
Remember, by next year, 1 in 2 of us will get a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime.
Only 46% can afford private health insurance.