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HSE slammed on foreign op supports
[Posted: Sun 14/08/2011 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
Parents on low incomes who have to travel abroad to get their seriously ill-children treated often face unnecessary financial burdens as a result of excessive HSE bureaucracy and lack of supports, according to the health safety body HIQA.
HIQA has criticised the running of the Treatment Abroad Scheme by the HSE in its report of the probe into the Meadhbh McGivern case, which examined the reasons why a 14-year-old girl could not be airlifted to London for a liver transplant last month.
The HIQA report says that while the HSE had recently centralised the processing of the relevant E112 forms to provide for patients attending Crumlin Hospital in Dublin who required liver transplants abroad, other welfare benefits must still be accessed through local HSE offices.
"The Authority heard from parents examples of the inconsistent application of the process by a number of HSE offices, minimal access to welfare information or support and limited psychological services."
HIQA's report says it was told of examples of parents with low incomes who had to urgently find money to arrange transport to bring their child to Kings College Hospital in London for assessment for a transplant, which included the costs of passports, premium flights, transfer to the hospital as well as extra daily subsistence costs.
In addition, parents had to fund the flight home on commercial flights with an immunocompromised child following the surgery.
"These are additional unnecessary burdens for parents at a time when their child is critically ill or going abroad for life-saving liver transplant surgery, and when parents need to focus on their child's health and wellbeing," HIQA said.
HIQA's review said there was no information provided to it that indicated that the HSE had evaluated the broader welfare, psychological or financial needs of the parents of children travelling abroad for treatment or that it had put in place clear structures to provide the necessary supports.
Examining the issues that contributed to the failed transport of Meadhbh McGivern for vital surgery, HIQA said there was an overly administrative focus on the funding and reimbursement of travel and transport that diverted attention from the safe and timely transfer of care for patients.
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