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Threatening use of debt collection agencies by hospitals is “regressive” - Louise O'Reilly TD

25 September, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Deputy Louise O’Reilly, has said the threatening use of debt collection agencies by hospitals to chase down late payments or bills of patients who cannot afford to pay is “incredibly regressive”.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The use of debt collection agencies by hospitals to collect hospital charges is an incredibly regressive measure.

“Figures obtained by the Irish Sun have shown that hospitals spent a staggering €574,207 on debt collection agencies in 2018.

“I don’t believe that our hospitals should be engaged in the use of private debt collection agencies to harass and threaten patients, many of whom are not in a position to pay these bills.

“While some people deliberately dodge paying these charges, the majority of people who don’t pay them can’t pay them, and I know from my experience that many are elderly people.

“For the hospital to sell the debts to a private debt collection agency who hound and threaten patients with court action if they don't pay up is really not on.

“These are paltry sums of money, and while I believe that these charges should be abolished, until they are abolished, hospitals need to adopt a more compassionate and fair way to recover these charges.

“These are sick people or people recovering from illness and they must be treated accordingly.”

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