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Medical card group set up

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The reduction in flu should ease hospital overcrowding

The reduction in flu should ease hospital overcrowding

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The reduction in flu should ease hospital overcrowding

PETER Fitzpatrick, one of the founders of the Our Children's Health organisation, is among the members of the new group set up by the HSE aimed at widening the grounds for granting a discretionary medical card.

Mr Fitzpatrick, who has highlighted the need to give more cards to children with serious illnesses, is part of the Clinical Advisory Group to be chaired by GP Dr Mary Sheehan.

It also includes a paediatrician, a public health nurse, as well as disability and therapy specialists.

The group's task is to come up with guidelines on how HSE officials and medical assessors can best measure an applicant's burden of disease, aside from just the financial cost.

It will meet on a monthly basis and produce an interim report in three months.

The group will make progress reports on how well the proposed new system is working.

The HSE said the group was recommended in the recent expert group report which examined medical care eligibility.

"The group will strive to ensure that the relatively small percentage of cases requiring the recognition of the burden of a medical condition - over and above financial hardship - can be accommodated," it said in a statement.

Some 76,000 people now have discretionary cards, up from 50,294 in June of last year.

Irish Independent