Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Health and the Minister for Finance to immediately review the policy of charging families or the next of kin of those who die in road traffic accidents a ?100 fee.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after receiving a heartfelt representation from a lady whose own father was killed in a tragic head on collision with another car:
?I was deeply moved to read this plea from a lady who has obviously suffered a great deal due to the circumstances in which her father died. As she rightly indicated, to think, that families have to pay a charge of ?100 to emergency departments in the aftermath of such tragedy is utterly repugnant and shocking.
Indeed it was a position that was recently confirmed by Minister Reilly in his reply to a Parliamentary Question asked by a colleague of mine. In that letter the Minister clearly stated 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. I find this kind of activity utterly depressing and it demonstrates that the HSE continues to engage in practices that actually cause suffering, instead of alleviating it as it was created to do.
I ask the question; what possible levels of financial benefit can possible accrue to the HSE by its pursuit of such a policy? The very last thing a grieving family need is to be hit with this kind of bill after enduring a devastating loss.
Potentially then you may have a situation where a family has not only lost access to the Bereavement Grant which was abolished in the last Budget, but they may also find they now have to pay this fee. That is simply adding insult to injury and it is appalling.
It is bad enough they are almost driving people into the grave through the removal of medical cards from the terminally ill, but to go after a grieving family in this way even after a loved one has died is simply barbaric and it must end immediately,? concluded Deputy McGrath.