Minister for Health asked to address Seanad on medical card withdrawals
FG Senator Imelda Henry expresses concern for those with long-term illnesses
Senator Imelda Henry: “We are all on the doorsteps and we hear the stories. It is quite disturbing and very difficult to have any answers.”
Senator Imelda Henry has called on Minister for Health Dr James Reilly to address the Seanad on the withdrawal of medical cards from the ill. Ms Henry (FG) said there was concern about the withdrawal of cards from people with long-term illnesses. “We are all on the doorsteps and we hear the stories,” she said. “It is quite disturbing and very difficult to have any answers for people who find themselves in such a situation.”
She said there was also an issue with the withdrawal of medical cards before the scheduled date. “I met somebody with a long-term illness who had a medical card which was due for renewal in July but was withdrawn in March,’’ she added. “This is very distressing for somebody with a long-term illness who all of a sudden finds this a huge financial difficulty and burden.’’
Marc MacSharry (FF) said Taoiseach Enda Kenny was finally beginning to listen to his own backbenchers. “He certainly did not listen to us over the past two years when we highlighted, day after day, week after week, month after month, the individual cases we all have come across.
“These are cases of blind people, people with cancer, long-term illnesses, multiple sclerosis and a wide variety of other illnesses,” Mr MacSharry added, “who have been coldly and callously stripped of their discretionary medical cards in a very inhumane way.”
John Kelly (Labour) said there was “absolute bedlam” at the primary care reimbursement service in Finglas for the past two years, with stressed-out employees unable to cope. “What did the HSE do to address this? It brought in the Germans and Angela Merkel is now reviewing medical cards in the PCRS.”