‘I have an Irish passport but Mater charged me as foreign’
2018-02-15 17:04:02 -


By Chinedu Onyejelem

Dublin’s Mater Hospital is refusing to accept naturalised Irish citizens as Irish when charging fees to patients, it has been claimed.


Metro Éireann learned from one recent patient – a Black African and naturalised Irish citizen who attended the Mater A&E on 27 January – who said he was invoiced as a non-EU visitor.


In an exclusive interview with Metro Éireann, Lassane Ouedraogo said: “I was given a bill of €380 for attending A&E services because I do not have a medical card. I gave my Irish passport and professional [work ID] card but was simply asked where was I born. I said I am Irish.”


Ouedraogo added that the hospital’s staff did not seem to care about his citizenship or the fact that he was fully employed in Dublin, only counting his country of origin.


“I felt very bad being treated the way the hospital did to me,” he said. “I felt I was told indirectly that [even though] I have an Irish passport … I am not Irish. I felt unwelcome and disappointed. I wish I could walk out, if I was not worried about my health.


“Thank God the doctor that treated me was more welcoming and he made me feel relieved at the end of it, even though I spent the whole night there.


“If I was a white Irish with my passport, they wouldn’t ask me where I was born,” he said.


In a statement, the Mater Hospital said its mission “is to care for the sick with compassion and professionalism at all times, respect the dignity of human life, and to promote excellence, quality and accountability through all our activities.”


The hospital declined to comment on this case, citing patient confidentiality. “However, [the hospital] does investigate all issues brought to its attention,” the statement added.


“If any member of the public has a query relating to fees charged by the hospital, they are advised to contact the Patient Accounts Department at 01 803 2211 or patientaccounts@mater.ie or the Patient Services Department at 01 803 2206 or patientservices@mater.ie directly to resolve any issues.”


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