Treatment for Hereditary Haemochromatosis only free to patients in Dublin

Charge of €80 for all other patients brought in by Government in 2013.

Sligo News File

Patients with Hereditary Haemochromatosis, the treatment of which necessitates the removal of a pint of blood, are being victimised – unless they can get to Dublin
where the treatment is free. TD Eamon Scanlon has described the situation as discriminatory.

Eamon Scanlon,TD

The Sligo-based Deputy said the €80 charge was only introduced in 2013 “after changes were made to the Health Act. It’s completely ridiculous that some patients are being forced to pay the charge while others are not. It’s discrimination based on address.”

Hereditary hemochromatosis is a disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron from the diet. The excess iron is stored in the body’s tissues and organs, particularly the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, and joints. Unless treatment is availed of the condition could have serious health implications for the sufferer.

Scanlon said, “It is deeply unfair that some people are having to pay the fee while others aren’t. This isn’t an optional procedure – if patients don’t undergo the treatment they could end up with liver damage.

“The Minister and the HSE need to level the playing field and ensure that all haemochromatosis sufferers have access to free venesection and phlebotomy services so that they can keep their condition under control.”

He said that Health Minister Simon Harris had informed him that a meeting is being arranged to consider “the issue of the application of the public in-patient charge of €80 for venesection in Acute Hospitals as well as broader issues in relation to the treatment of patients with Hereditary Haemochromatosis.”