There are many people ready to help you and your family throughout treatment and afterwards.
- Medical social worker
- Cancer nurse specialists
- Psycho-oncology services
- Family doctor (GP)
- Community welfare officer and community health services
- Support groups and cancer support centres
- Irish Cancer Society helpline nurses
Call the National Cancer Helpline on 1800 200 700 for information about any of the services outlined above or for support services in your area. Or if you prefer, you can also visit a Daffodil Centre.
Remember that there are many people ready to help you.
Health cover falls into two groups – cover for medical card holders and cover for all other groups. If you wish to apply for a medical card, you can download an application form and apply online www.medicalcard.ie or at your local health centre. LoCall 1890 252 919.
GP visit card
If you do not qualify for a full medical card, you may be eligible for a GP visit card. This card covers visits to your doctor only and you will have to pay for drugs, outpatient/inpatient charges and medical appliances yourself. It is means tested but will take into account your after-tax income and certain expenses like childcare, rent/mortgage and travel to work. Check with the medical social worker at your hospital or your HSE office to see if you are eligible. If you wish to apply for a GP visit card, you can download an application form and apply online at www.medicalcard.ie. or at your local health centre. LoCall 1890 252 919.
Drugs Payment Scheme
Under the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS), individuals and families, including spouses and dependent children, pay a limit of €144 each month to cover the cost of prescribed drugs, medicines and appliances. You can apply for cover under the scheme by contacting your local HSE office or local pharmacy.
Private healthcare cover
Private health insurance pays for private care in hospital or from various specialists in hospitals or in their practices. In Ireland, this is available through the VHI, Laya Healthcare, AVIVA Health, GloHealth, and other schemes. They provide cover for day care or inpatient treatment and hospital outpatient treatment. Before attending hospital, do check the level of cover provided by your insurer, both for inpatient and outpatient services.
If you have private insurance, your tests might not get done as quickly as you would like. Your health insurer has to approve some tests in advance. For example, MRI and PET scans. Sometimes it might take 24–48 hours to get approval from your health insurer.
Benefits and allowances
You or a family member may qualify for a number of benefits and allowances. For example, Illness Benefit, Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, Carer’s Leave. More information is available in a booklet called Managing the Financial Impact of Cancer: A Guide for Patients and Their Families. For a free copy, contact the National Cancer Helpline on 1800 200 700 or visit a Daffodil Centre. You can also download it from www.cancer.ie.
Application forms for the benefits are available from social welfare offices or Social Welfare Services Office, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford. Tel: (043) 334 0000 or LoCall 1890 927 770. You can also download the forms from www.welfare.ie or www.citizensinformation.ie
Depending on your circumstances at the time of your illness, there are many other benefits and entitlements that may be relevant to you. Always have your PPS number (old RSI number) to hand when you are enquiring about entitlements and benefits. The most direct way to check your eligibility is to contact:
- Your community welfare officer in your local health centre
- The medical social worker in the hospital you are attending.
For social welfare queries, contact:
Dept of Social Protection – Information Service
212–213 Pearse Street
Tel: 1850 662 244
Leaflet line: 1890 202 325