Discretionary medical card reviews are suspended by the Government – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Discretionary medical card reviews are suspended by the Government


Alex White the Minister of State for Primary Care has told the Dáil that the review of discretionary medical cards is to be suspended.

Following this mornings meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Health Mr White has decided that all reviews shall be suspended. It is now understood that the HSE will now set up an independent panel of experts to develop a new system where cards could be allocated based on medical need, the minister said.

It is also believed that a policy paper will also be drawn up to examine what legislation may be required to introduce the new system.

The HSE have been heavily criticised in recent weeks, due to widespread reports of people with long-term medical conditions losing their Medical cards. The HSE stated that the medical card scheme is based on the Health Act 1970, which provides for cards on the basis of financial means.

The HSE said that medical card eligibility is reviewed on a regular basis claiming that 644,853 medical card holders were reviewd last year. The HSE also went on to say that at the end of February this year, that a total of 482,866 reviews of card holders had taken place. The HSE claimed that  96.4% of those people who had a medical card, retained their card.

The HSE made a statement today in which they said that they welcomed the Government’s decision and said that all reviews currently under way will be suspended. The HSE also promised that no further reviews will take place “pending the outcome of the development of the new policy framework by Government”.

Fianna Fáil’s Colm Keaveney also welcomed the decision, but he was very critical of the government in which he stated that “the Government heeded the warnings of the Opposition”. Mr Keaveney said it was “unfortunate for the families of sick children that it had not happened earlier”.

Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe also welcomed the decision, but he also criticized the Government in which he stated that “the move was clearly a reaction to the anger on the doorsteps”, Mr Crowe also reckoned that more details must be provided on what this recent announcement meant.


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