The heartbroken mother of a teenage boy who is battling a rare form of cancer has slammed the health care system after being told that her GP visit card was to be taken from her.
Nadia Vavrova, from Bettystown in county Meath, gave up her job as a social worker in 2018 when her, then thirteen year old, son Slav, developed Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma,a serious strain of cancer that had spread into his spine and bone marrow, and became his full time carer.
She received carers benefit of €220 weekly as well as a monthly domiciliary benefit of € 309.50 , and was awarded a GP Visit card for herself, but the carers benefit only lasts for two years and when that ended earlier this year she was the HSE informed her that as her husbands income is slightly over the qualifying threshold she was to lose the card.
A frustrated Nadia said, ‘The rules are wrong, my situation hasn’t changed, I am still a full time carer taking care of my son, my husband is still earning the same amount of money as when I had the card and the allowance, so what’s the difference.
‘I appealed the decision and sent dozens of emails and made numerous phone calls but the department won’t budge.
‘I cannot return to work as I have to take Slav to hospital appointments three or four times each week and also have to take my older son Vlad to doctors as he has diabetes, the only thing that has changed is the fact I am down €880m each month.
‘The money is not the issue here it is the principle as although my circumstances haven’t changed I am being told I won’t be paid for doing the exact same work.
‘Of course I would care for my son for nothing, I do it out of love, but the system is so unfair.
‘Ironically I probably need the GP card now more than I ever did because the stress of the situation I find myself in is really affecting me.’
During the summer Nadia brought Slave back to their native Slovakia to see a specialist who gave her the devastating news that there is no cure for his condition.
She revealed, ‘We went to the oncology department here in Slovakia twice and the oncologist was surprised that Slav is doing so well.
‘He said there is no good prognosis for kids with the same diagnoses and they usually end up in palliative care, while I appreciate his honest answers it was very disturbing information for me to have to take in.
‘Slav is a fighter though, he is unable to go to school because of his illness but he is out jogging every day and he is really battling this.
‘It just seems to me that the state wants to destroy the support system he has around him, I am sure I am not the only one that this has happened to and it needs to be changed.
‘When a rule is so clearly a bad rule it needs to be altered.’
A HSE spokesperson said, ‘The HSE does not comment on individual cases’.