Sunday 21 January 2018

Seriously ill children still being denied medical cover

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny
John Downing

John Downing

Healthy children under six years of age will soon have free doctor care - but very sick children still cannot a medical card.

That was the stark message to the Taoiseach today as the Dail debated the ongoing health service problems.

Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin, again raised the case of two children - one a nine-year-old girl suffering from cancer and the other a boy with Down Syndrome - who cannot get full medical card cover for their costly medical care.

Mr Martin said parents' stress and anxiety were worsened by their contacts with officialdom. "Parents should not be put in this position," the Fianna Fail leader said.

"Soon healthy children under six years of age will get free GP care while very ill children are still being denied cover," Mr Martin argued.

The Taoiseach said the new regime of discretionary medical cards was delivering more flexibility in the system. In mid-2014 there were 52,000 discretionary medical cards in operation and by December that figure had grown to 77,000.

"Nobody wants to have a case where a child is sick and does not have access to medical treatment and medical facilities," Mr Kenny told the Dail.

The Taoiseach said full details of each case should be  given to Health Minister Leo Varadkar to ensure the children can get the care they need.

Mr Kenny said the long-term aim of government was to deliver universal health care for all.

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