Belfast Telegraph

Man refunded following 1,500 euro hospital bill

The man, who suffers from a severe kidney condition, spent a total of 30 nights in hospitals.

A man has received a partial refund after he was charged 1,500 euro (£1,334) for 30 nights in hospital.

The man, who suffers from a severe kidney condition, was admitted to two different hospitals over 12 months.

At the time there was a 75 euro (£66) per day charge for a hospital stay, a charge which has since increased to 80 euro (£71) per day.

However, this charge was capped at 750 euro (£667) in any 12 month period regardless of how many public hospitals a patient is admitted to, or of the condition that requires treatment.

The man complained to Ombudsman Peter Tyndall after he was charged 1,500 euro (£1,334) for spending 30 nights in hospital.

When the Ombudsman investigated the complaint he was initially told by Ireland’s health services (HSE) that the 12-month cap was in respect of each hospital and, therefore, the man was correctly charged 1,500 euro.

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The man suffered from a severe kidney condition (Peter Byrne/PA)

However, when the Ombudsman brought the relevant legislation to the HSE’s attention, it agreed to refund the excess charge to the man.

The man spent nine nights in the first hospital and was correctly charged 675 euro (£600). He then had to spend 20 nights in a second hospital. The second hospital charged him the capped fee of 750 euro (£667), but did not take into account the 675 euro the man had already paid the first hospital.

In a statement, Mr Tyndall’s office expressed concern that there is no integrated payment system for managing hospital charges, and other patients could be similarly affected.

As a result, the HSE published clearer guidelines on its website, along with advice on the importance of patients keeping receipts.

The Ombudsman is set to review the actions taken by the HSE in the coming months.

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