Cllr Padraig Fallon has called for the automatic granting of medical cards to all with a cancer diagnosis
Sinn Féin councillor, Padraig Fallon has described the decision not to automatically grant medical cards to cancer patients as “a damn disgrace” and “an outrage”.
“The Minister (for Health) Stephen Donnelly, and his Department need to do the right thing,” said Cllr Fallon, “and automatically award medical cards to persons who receive a cancer diagnosis.”
In a renewed call for a change in approach to the treatment of medical card applications for cancer patients, Cllr Fallon has called for the automatic granting of these cards following diagnosis.
Speaking at the November Council meeting, Cllr Fallon said “this is the second if not third time that I have put down a motion on this”.
He acknowledged that the qualifying criteria for a medical card can be difficult, especially in area surrounding means, but said that the stress associated with going through the process and especially if a person is refused a card, could hamper impact their treatment and recovery.
Cllr Fallon said he was working with a number of people impacted by difficulties in obtaining medical cards following a cancer diagnosis.
He cited one case in particular where a constituent found out that they had been refused a medical card on their way to get cancer treatment.
“They text me to say that a letter had come to say their application for a medical card had been refused.
“A cancer diagnosis is devastating and going through treatment is difficult enough without having to worry about whether or not you will be able to get a medical card,” he added.
“It's a damn disgrace and it's an outrage.”
“What I am saying is we need to see action here. The Minister may be able to do this with the stroke of a biro, but this may need to be legislated for and if it does then it needs to be done now,” he said.
“I would much prefer not to have to move this or a similar motion again but if I have to, I will to get a change,” he said.
His motion was backed unanimously by other councillors with the Cathaoirleach noting similar motions had been brought on 10-12 occasions and all were unanimously supported.
Cllr Just Warnock said he also had made representations on behalf of families facing similar circumstances.
“Nothing is more stressful (than a cancer diagnosis) and there should be no questions asked. People should get a medical card and all the assistance they need from the State.
Cllr Des Guckian agreed describing the automatic granting of a card as an “absolute necessity”.
He said not only should councillors support it, “they should make such a noise that it will be made automatic”.