Saturday 18 November 2017

Medical cards could be returned before Dail breaks up next month

Alex White
Alex White

Sam Griffin and Emma Jane Hade

HOPES have been raised that those who lost their discretionary medical cards will have them returned within weeks.

Health Minister James Reilly and Junior Minister Alex White yesterday met groups representing people who had their cards taken away, along with others including HSE director general Tony O'Brien.

Following the meetings, a number of groups made statements welcoming the minister for bringing clarity to the practice of returning discretionary medical cards.

The Our Children's Health group, which has been campaigning for the return of cards, said: "We would like to acknowledge his sincerity and commitment to expedite the introduction of the new framework while also moving quickly to deal with those that have lost their medical cards."

The group said the minister had "committed to identify and reinstate medical cards for all those affected" and added that this would be undertaken by the time the Dail breaks for the summer recess on July 17.

Group spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said Mr Reilly became "very emotional" during the 90-minute meeting.

He said there was now an understanding the review process would go back to January 1, 2013, when the probity on medial cards intensified.

Other groups represented at the meeting included Down Syndrome Ireland, the Jack and Jill Foundation, the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association.

A spokesman for the Department of Health last night confirmed the intention to resolve the issue of returning medical cards by the time the Dail breaks.

"On the issue of those persons who lost a discretionary medical card through the review process, the groups were advised that the goal of the Government is to resolve that issue before the summer," he said.

"The meeting was also advised that the HSE has initiated an external examination of the processes around the rewarding and review of medical cards to ensure the most effective service to the public."

Irish Independent

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