HSE to pay Vicky Phelan’s €150k annual bill

The HSE has agreed to pay the €150,000 a year bill for Vicky Phelan’s cancer drug treatment after a national outcry over what happened to her and direct intervention by her local TD.

Ms Phelan confirmed the change of heart yesterday, saying the move is “either good sense or else they’re just running terrified and running for the hills” over the issue.

In an interview with RTE Radio’s The Ray D’Arcy Show in which she said “I will not let the country down” and repeated her call for a full inquiry, Ms Phelan said the HSE has agreed to pay for her medication.

Her treatment has to be taken once every three weeks and costs €8,300 each time, meaning the full yearly cost is €150,000.

“I was told that by my local TD Kieran O Donnell who has been campaigning for me, I got a phone call from him saying I won’t be getting any more invoices from St Vincent’s that the HSE is going to pay for my drugs.

It’s either good sense or else they’re just running terrified and running for the hills,” she said.

During the same interview Ms Phelan repeated her call for HSE director general Tony O’Brien to step down, noting his view the scandal has been “a personal blow to him” by saying “he’s a man, try being a woman in that position”.

She said criticised Taoiseach Leo Varadkar “for being a bit quiet” on the issue, and confirmed she will be on the scoping group examining whether to set up a commission of investigation into the crisis, saying “I will be grilling them and won’t make it easy”.

Ms Phelan said she has been contacted by a number of other victims of what happened, including widowers who have told her recent days have been “like re-living the funeral again”.

“It’s disgraceful, it just makes it very difficult when you put the faces to these people,” she said.

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