Thursday, 20 December 2018
Order of Business
I am extremely upset about an article in today's edition of The Irish Times. Cancer patients are being hounded by debt collecting agencies if their treatment bills are not paid within 47 days. It is a policy of the HSE to pass the debt on to debt collecting agencies. These agencies are threatening cancer patients with legal action if they do not pay within 47 days. This is disgusting. It is a very difficult time for a patient battling cancer and it is very cruel of anybody to harass a patient dealing with cancer. The bills involve are often for as little as €80.
I ask the Leader to call on the Minister for Health to come to the House as early as possible in January so that we can debate and discuss this and other issues like the services and supports that should be made available to cancer patients who have to travel to centres of excellence for treatment and may need support with childcare or financial support. It is vitally important to have that discussion. I also ask the Leader to ask the Minister to have words with the HSE and demand it stops doing this. What is happening is disgusting.
On a nicer note, I wish everybody a very happy Christmas. I thank the Seanad staff and the ushers for their support throughout the year. They are exceptionally good to us and I do not know how they put up with us half the time but they do.
I wish the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána and the emergency services a happy and peaceful Christmas with their families. I hope there are no issues with which they have to deal. I thank them for their support and help throughout 2018. As Senator Leyden said, the members of An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces need our support. They have always been there for us and we should be there for them. Nollaig shona daoibh go léir.