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Vinnies Ireland pays for private medical care to avert deaths

The Society of St Vincent de Paul is paying for private medical care to ensure disadvantaged people who are seriously ill do not die on waiting lists.

In one case an elderly woman with gangrene in both feet was refused admittance to a hospital in south county Dublin as there were no more public beds. The local SVDP group paid for her to be privately treated and she was admitted immediately.

In another case Vinnies paid for a special bathroom for a blind disabled man who was expected to live a year, after he was told he would have to wait that long for the health services to do it.

Vinnies Ireland social policy officer Audrey Deane told a nursing home conference that poor people who fall ill are twice as likely to die as those who were financially better off.

"Most of our local groups regularly report buying private consultations for the families they work with, so they can skip the public waiting lists, in either acute or community settings," Ms Deane said.

"They see at first hand the humiliation at not being able to afford to skip the public system, the stress; the pain and indignity suffered by families who must endure a chronic condition for unacceptable waiting times."

Society of St Vincent de Paul in Ireland

Irish Times

17 May 2002