HSE to pay for Vicky Phelan's drug treatment

Vicky Phelan has revealed that the HSE is going to pay for her drug treatment.

Speaking on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1, Ms Phelan said she received the news that the health service would cover her drug treatment costs - having been footing the bill herself so far.

Ms Phelan needs to take the drug every three weeks that costs €8,300 each time she goes for treatment.

"I was told by my local TD, Kieran O'Donnell, who has been campaigning for me on this behalf for the last number of weeks anyway to try and get the drug, never mind to not have to pay for it.

But I just got a phone call from him last week to say I won't be getting any more invoices from St Vincents that the HSE are going to cover the cost of my drug.

Ms Phelan said it was good news saying "If I was on that drug for over a year that's €150,000, that's a lot of money."

In April it was revealed that the terminally-ill cancer patient was diagnosed three years after an inaccurate smear test.

Ms Phelan addressed the inquiry that is due to take place in the wake of the CervicalCheck scandal and which she will be a part of.

"I am happy that I am going to be involved," she said.

"At least there will be somebody on this committee that will be sitting there representing the people.

From everything that people know about me already, I'm not one to take things lightly. So I will be grilling them and I won't be making it easy.

"So I'm glad and I'm very happy to be involved."

Ms Phelan revealed that she had been invited to be part of the committee on Friday afternoon.

She also told Ray D'Arcy that she would be encouraging women to "definitely go for another smear" if they have any worries even if their last smear was clear.

Ms Phelan added that she feels the current Director-General of the HSE Tony O'Brien is not the right person "to be in the position at this stage."

I thought Kate O'Connell took him on very well in the Oireachtas. I mean a personal blow to him - he's a man. Try being a woman in this situation.

"If he felt so strongly about it why didn't he do something about it... I know he has said he didn't know anything about it but I just don't think he's the right man to be in the position now at this stage."

It was revealed on Friday that Sinn Féin will bring a motion of no confidence in Mr O'Brien to the Dáil next week.

Ms Phelan also praised Health Minister Simon Harris for his work since the scandal broke, saying he had been the "best politician among them."

"Simon Harris, from my perspective, he's been on the phone to me at least twice - he has probably been the best politician amongst them trying to deal with this, Varadkar has been a bit quiet I thought, maybe he's leaving it up to the Minister for Health... I want action at this stage and it's been a bit slow."

You can listen to the full interview below:

Meanwhile, Cian O’Carroll - the solicitor for Vicky Phelan - has said that the budgets allocated for the HSE are unaffected by financial settlements paid out in cases of alleged negligence brought against the HSE.

He said that once a case is brought against the HSE, it is passed over to the State Claims Agency.

Mr O'Carroll expressed concern that this may be leading to less focus on patient health.

READ MORE: This powerful cartoon about the CervicalCheck controversy has received a huge reaction

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