Saturday 17 March 2018

Over 11,000 children with severe disability to get medical cards next year

Currently, there are over 1.7 million people registered with a medical card
Currently, there are over 1.7 million people registered with a medical card

Eilish O’Regan

More than 11,000 children with a severe disability, who are covered by the Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA), are to get medical cards next year.

Health Minister Simon Harris said currently around one third of children whose family gets this allowance are without a medical card.

“In future all 33,000 DCA children will automatically qualify for a medical card. Therefore, these children will not be subject to the medical card means-test.”

The allowance is a monthly payment for a child with a severe disability, aged under 16 years, who requires ongoing care and attention substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child of the same age.

Currently, there are over 1.7 million people registered with a medical card and a further 450,000 people have a GP visit card.

“This is a key Programme for Government commitment," he told the Dail.

Read more: New deal on drugs prices will save taxpayer €785m over next four years - Health Minister

“This commitment is a priority for me in the upcoming discussions on Budget 2017. I am privileged to have become Minister for Health at a time when we are in a period of reinvestment in the health services, which gives me the opportunity to address some immediate issues facing patients as well as meeting Programme for Government commitments.

“However, as Minister for Health, I also recognised that there are enormous demands and cost pressures on our health service.

“Health care demand continues to rise due to our growing and ageing population, the increasing incidence of chronic conditions and advances in medical technologies and treatments. We have secured a substantial increase in funding for the health services for 2016 but I do not underestimate the challenges involved in the delivery of a safe efficient health service for Irish patients.

“Health systems all around the world are struggling with the issue of rising costs – Ireland is in no way unique in this, and maintaining the pace of reform is fundamental. We must maintain our focus on improving the way services are organised and delivered and reducing costs in order to maximise service provision,” he added.

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