FINE Gael Cork South Central TD and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Jerry Buttimer, has welcomed the decision of Laya to cover the PET/CT scanner at CUH.
“I welcome the decision by Laya Healthcare to facilitate its customers using the PET scanner at CUH. This decision will enable Laya customers in Cork to have access to the same facilities that are available in Dublin, Galway and Waterford without having to travel vast distances. This decision means that its Cork customers can now use the new scanner on an out-patient basis.
“The people of Cork are still waiting for confirmation from the VHI on whether it will provide cover for the use of the PET scanner. However, I have been informed that the VHI has sought some additional information from the providers of the service and that, subject to this being satisfactory, it expects to be able to enter into an agreement to provide cover for this service for its members. If this transpires it would be a welcome development.
“Also, the VHI has indicated to me that it is considering options for providing long-term PET scanning and brachytherapy services in Cork. I would suggest to the VHI that the PET scanner in the CUH should form an integral part of these services.
“These commitments by private health insurers are very significant for all patients in Cork who need access to the PET scanner. Already the PET scanner is operating two days a week for public patients; these decisions will now ensure that private patients can use the facility when it is not being used for public patients.
“Ultimately there should be just one referral pathway for patients in Cork who need to access the PET scanner. There should no longer be a two-tier system which requires some patients to travel to Dublin. It is important that there is universal access to the PET scanner based on need, not whether someone is a public or private patient.
“Universal access to the PET scanner has the potential to benefit the entire southern region. It will help the long term viability of this service and it will also deliver the maximum benefit of the €6.85 million investment in the treatment and diagnostic facility to all patients.”