Mental health authority prepares legal action against €200 fee

More than half of psychiatric patients faced with paying a €200 fee are stopping their treatment or refusing help, research by the mental health services authority shows.

The authority is preparing a legal action against health minister Edith Schippers to have the new measure dropped.
The €200 fee for psychiatric help comes on top of the €220 own-risk element everyone has to pay before health insurance kicks in.
The research, which questioned 500 patients, shows 17% have stopped treatment since the new fee was introduced. Another 35% are considering stopping and 46% say they would refuse treatment in a psychiatric institution because of the cost.
Of those questioned, 10% earn less than €500 a month and nearly 40% earn between €500 and €1,000 a month.
Psychiatric staff are worried about what will happen if patients refuse treatment. Psychiatrist Niels Mulder of the Erasmus medical centre told the Volkskrant he knows of departments where the number of patients has dropped by 50%. ‘This is setting psychiatry back 20 years,’ he said.

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