Irish Cancer Society closes fund for penniless patients due to 'huge growth in demand'

Irish Cancer Society closes fund for penniless patients due to 'huge growth in demand'

The Irish Cancer Society is closing its Financial Support programme.

The fund helps cancer patients who face financial hardship as a result of their diagnosis.

The charity says it greatly regrets having to close the fund which they said had to close as "the demand has become too big for us to manage".

Last year they gave €1.8m to patients who were facing financial hardship.

The charity said: "We have found ourselves unable to meet the huge growth in demand for Financial Support from cancer patients.

"Closing the Financial Support Programme was a difficult choice to make, but against the background of a drop in fundraised income in 2015, we were forced to choose between the free and unique services which we provide to patients, and the Financial Support fund, demand for which was growing at a rate which could have put our free services at risk.

"We continue to strongly support cancer patients, both adults and children, who are struggling financially as a result of their cancer diagnosis, through providing advice and information on the range of Government and voluntary schemes which they can access."

They found out from a survey last year that cancer patients and their families can face serious financial pressure while they are going through their treatment.

Because of this, they are going to do four things:

Advocate a campaign to have cancer patients have immediate access to a medical card once diagnosed;

Lobby hospitals treating cancer patients for free parking for them and their families;

Fight to reduce the Drugs Payment Scheme limit to €85 from €114;

Lobby to have Community Welfare Officers recognise the catastrophic impact on self-employed patients of a cancer diagnosis and to ensure they are financially supported.


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