Long-term illness care is thwarted by red tape

Niall O'Connor

GOVERNMENT plans to roll out free GP care to 60,000 people with long-term illnesses have been stalled due to legal barriers.

The plans formed a key part of the coalition's programme for Government.

Ministers in both Labour and Fine Gael wanted to provide medical cards to those with long-term illnesses -- such as epilepsy and diabetes -- regardless of their income.

However, it has now emerged that legal advice has been received by the Department which has thrown up barriers in terms of drafting the required legislation.

Fianna Fail described the news as a "bitter blow" to those with long-term illnesses.

Some €15m was allocated for this purpose in 2012. However, the money has now been used to pay the HSE's massive debts.