The Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has officially confirmed that the government has agreed to install a new legislation that will see all children under the age 18 who are suffering from cancer automatically been issued with a medical card.
Mr Varadkar made the announcement recently after there were strong calls from the public to change the ruling. Mr Varadkar said that the current means test for the life-saving cards will be by-passed for all children who are cancer patients. The change has been largely successful due to the efforts of one brave 9 year old girl Lucy O’Connor and her mother Angela O’Connor who relentlessly campaigned so Lucy and many other children could receive the proper medical treatment without the significantly high cost.
The brave 9 year old girl and her mother decided to go public with their story after seriously ill Lucy was wrongfully refused a medical card despite battling the illness. The refusal of the medical card left Lucy’s mother Angela feeling so “let down” by the system after paying her taxes all her life, led her to fight on the behalf of her daughter and other children suffering from the illness.
Meanwhile Mr Varadkar released a statement regarding the new legislation saying the HSE has accepted a recommendation to extend medical card eligibility to all children under the age of 18 years with a diagnosis of cancer without a means-test. Mr Varadkar said: “This move recognises the burden which is placed on a family when a child is diagnosed with cancer.” “Our ultimate goal is to provide universal healthcare for the entire population in stages.” “At the moment we are widening access to free GP care based on age groups, like under sixes from today and those aged seventy plus from next month.”
The health minister added: “But at the same time we are also widening discretion for medical cards including childhood cancer today, and improving the management of chronic illnesses in the community like asthma and diabetes.”
The move has been greatly welcomed by Lucy’s mother Angela O’Connor who said she is delighted no other family will have to experience the struggle they went through. Mrs O’Connor said: “It has been quite a whirlwind few days, but delighted that families of the future won’t have to go public in their fight with cancer & the HSE and thank you for all your help along the way. “I hoped for a change, I hoped that no parent would face into this horrible journey of childhood cancer and have to go public to access basic medical expenses, today sees this come into play.” “I know a lot of people are saying this is political, but the amount of messages I have from parents of children fighting cancer, who just can’t face reapplying for a medical card for their child.”
Mrs O’Connor also thanked everyone who campaigned with her and her daughter by adding: “I have worked away in the background, trying to help politicians from all sides understand how difficult this situation is for a family, thank you for all of your support.”