Taoiseach says restoring medical cards will cost €13 million

Enda Kenny says he is ‘very sorry’ for stress caused in many cases where cards were withdrawn

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said it will cost approximately €13 million to restore the discretionary medical cards. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said it will cost approximately €13 million to restore the discretionary medical cards. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 18:07

Restoring the 13,300 discretionary medical cards cancelled in the HSE review will cost an estimated €13 million, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told the Dáil.

He also apologised for the distress caused by the HSE review of cards. “I’m very sorry that many of the cases brought to light really did cause a great deal of stress for people,” Mr Kenny said.

Confirming the restoration of cards removed from some 13,300 people, the Taoiseach said each discretionary card cost €1,130 a year. A total of 5,288 discretionary full medical cards were refused renewal of any form of card.

In addition 7,118 full medical cards were replaced with a GP card. Their re-instatement cost is €880 per card, he told Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who raised the issue during leaders’ questions.

The Taoiseach added that 2,899 discretionary GP visiting cards were refused and re-instating them will cost €250 in each case.

Mr Kenny said the HSE director general could act on his discretion to take account of an ad misericordian appeal on a case-by-case to replace a discretionary card “where due to exceptional medical circumstances, a person did not respond or reply to a review or repeal system”.

The estimate is 13,300 cards at a cost of €13 million, the Taoiseach concluded. These were cards where discretion was applied since July 1st 2011.

He said medical card holders should get them back in the next four weeks and he reiterated the suspension of the review of medical cards.