FINE Gael Cork South Central TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children, Jerry Buttimer, has been informed by the VHI that it hopes to shortly conclude its review of an application to cover the PET/CT scanner at CUH.
“I have made direct contact with VHI asking that it reconsider providing cover for the PET/CT scanner which has been gathering dust in the CUH for three years. Thankfully VHI confirmed that it is carrying out a review of the application and that it hopes to have the review concluded shortly. I encourage the VHI to prioritise the review and to ensure that its Cork customers have access to the same facilities that are available in Dublin.
“Management at CUH has engaged a third party provider, using an alternative service delivery model, to make this service available to public patients from later this month. However, while public patients will have access to the PET scanner there will now be two referral pathways for Cork patients depending on their insurance status.
“The Minister for Health, James Reilly, TD, has made it clear that his long term aim is to end this two tier system, ensuring equal access regardless of ability to pay. If we are to achieve equal access to health services then access to essential facilities should not be decided on based on whether or not a patient has insurance.
“The PET scanner provides an important service which has the potential to benefit the entire southern region. Universal access to the PET scanner will help the long term viability of this service and it will also deliver the maximum benefit to all patients of the €6.85 million investment in the treatment and diagnostic facility.
“Private insurers have an obligation to provide their customers with convenient access to cutting edge diagnostics and treatment. It is imperative for patients across south Munster that the private health insurers live up to their responsibilities and facilitate their customers in accessing the PET scanner at CUH.”