Saturday 29 November 2014

GPs get medical card help and support line

Published 29/08/2014 | 02:30

The helpline will deal with issues such as the transfer of patients to nursing homes
The helpline will deal with issues such as the transfer of patients to nursing homes

PATIENTS will benefit from a new HSE helpline to help GPs deal with medical card problems, writes Eilish O'Regan.

The dedicated line, operational from next Monday, will allow the doctor deal with issues such as removal of a patient's medical card or the transfer of a patient to a nursing home.

They can also add a new baby to their medical card list or bring up sensitive issues around the renewal of a card.

Ivan McConkey of the HSE's medical card service has written to doctors saying the setting up of the line followed discussions with Health Minister Leo Varadkar.

GPs have long asked for this kind of service to help them bring up concerns which their patients make them aware of.

However, despite promises it has only been acted on now. The line will help patients, and spare them having to go through some of the complicated bureaucracy they encounter when applying for or renewing their medical card.

Mr McConkey said that sensitive information, such as the patient's financial position, cannot be shared with the doctors. However, it will review the operation of the support line and will enhance it where possible based on feedback from GPs and their representatives.

GPs pointed out that they would have welcomed this service during the recent controversy over the removal of discretionary medical cards, which led to confusion.

Irish Independent

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