Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon has today (Friday) welcomed the statement by the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Alex White TD, in the Dáil that the HSE Director General will now suspend reviews of medical cards where discretion had been exercised to take account of medical circumstances.
It comes after a meeting of the Cabinet Sub Committee on Health, when the Government decided to address issues surrounding eligibility for the cards to take account of medical conditions, including new legislation if necessary.
“I am pleased that the Government has listened to the concerns on this issue. We have all been shocked by stories of severely ill or disabled people being subjected to a review of their discretionary medical cards. In many cases this has caused unnecessary stress and upset.
“While the majority of discretionary cards have been maintained following a review, the process of the review itself can be extremely stressful. Furthermore, the level of attention surrounding this issue has led to anxiety and concern among other medical card holders who fear they could lose their card.
“As a result of this decision, the HSE will now set up an expert panel to look at what factors should be considered when a discretionary medical card is being granted. In the past, only financial circumstances and financial hardship could be considered when granting discretionary cards. These changes will ensure that, for the first time, when deciding on discretionary cards, medical conditions will be taken into account.
“I am relieved that the review has been halted and that a new framework will be developed, and underpinned by legislation if necessary, to ensure that the system for allocating discretionary medical cards is based on fairness, compassion and common decency.”
Contact: Martin Heydon 087-6262546