THE practice of refusing in-patient and outpatient treatment services to individuals purely based on their address is to be immediately addressed. Kildare North TD, Catherine Muprhy, welcomed the move by Minister of Health, Dr. James Reilly
Speaking recently, she said that in some cases essential treatment had been refused “even where it was unavailable at any other location in the State.”
In the Dail on 16 May, Minister Reilly said that the practice is “unacceptable” and confirmed that a letter has been issued from the National Directors of the HSE and the Chief Operating Officer of the Special Delivery Unit (SDU) to all public hospitals in the country requesting that, with immediate effect, all hospitals should refrain from any further limiting of historic catchment areas.
The Minister also stated that the requirement will be retrospective to the start of 2012 in most cases, and will apply to new referrals and existing patients receiving long term treatments.
Deputy Murphy said the move could not come soon enough as recent figures show that almost 170,000 people are on waiting lists for outpatient services around the country.