Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has urged the Government to act swiftly to ensure that patients with Hepatitis C get the urgent treatment they need.

“It has been reported that the 2017 Budget allocation for Hepatitis C patients has already been used up leaving more than 600 registered patients, whose treatment has not started, affected and in need of treatment.

“Without adequate treatment or transplants, some of these people may die and this must not be allowed to happen.

“I am deeply concerned that patients’ health could be severely jeopardised by a lack of funding in the programme and it is wrong that this has been allowed to happen.

“The fact that this is happening just one week after World Hepatitis Day when Minister of State Catherine Byrne launched new National Clinical Effectiveness Guidelines for screening people for Hep C is both astonishing and disturbing.

“At present, there are between 20,000 and 30,000 people living in Ireland with Hepatitis C.

“Minister Byrne went on to say that ‘once diagnosed there are treatments available which are very successful’

“The Government has a duty of care to ensure that these successful treatments are made available to everyone diagnosed. Minister Harris must ensure that those patients with Hepatitis C get the treatment they need now and aren’t forced to wait,” concluded Kelleher.