Tuesday 12 December 2017

Women hepatitis patients' cash fight

A SUPPORT group for women infected with hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products will continue to receive interim payments pending an action it is taking against the HSE, the High Court heard.

POSITIVE Action, which represents women who received the blood products from the Irish Blood Transfusion Board, claims its public funding will be removed unless it signs a generic agreement with the HSE.

The organisation, which got €558,000 in public funds last year, is challenging the implementation of a decision last March by the HSE requiring it to enter into a standard service agreement used by the HSE.

The group says, if implemented, the decision will deprive it of essential funding and also claims it is in breach of fair procedures. The case was listed for hearing yesterday in the High Court but was adjourned.

Mr Justice Kevin Feeney set the case down for a hearing on February 27.

John Rogers, for Positive Action, said there was an urgency about the matter as the funding was about to be cut unless his clients signed the "generic type agreement" the HSE was seeking.

Garret Simons, for the HSE, said there is already specified interim funding in place for November and December and he was sure arrangements could be made to continue that, pending the hearing of the case.

Positive Action says that in 2008 the HSE first notified the group of its intention to introduce new governance/contractual arrangements.

It says it came to an arrangement with the HSE which safeguarded its unique role, but was then told last March it would have to become part of the standard arrangement.


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