Call for changes to medical card application process

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Call for changes to medical card application process

Deputy Eamon Scanlon wants changes made to the application process for medical cards.

Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to direct the HSE to make changes to the application process for medical cards.

Deputy Scanlon made the comments after raising the issue in the Dáil with Minister of State Jim Daly. He pointed out that the current application process is mired with difficulties and is a painful experience for those already suffering with serious medical conditions.

Deputy Scanlon said, “The reality for people who are suffering from cancer or chronic and long-term illness is extremely difficult. These people have a lot going on in their lives; they are trying to deal with their illness and trying to live life while dealing with other issues outside of their control. The painful process of making an application for a medical card is absolutely horrific. It is adding serious unnecessary hardship to an already extremely stressful situation.

“The HSE insists that there is an emergency application process for those suffering with serious illnesses but in reality this process isn’t working. It is slow and cumbersome and fraught with unnecessary hurdles. It should be made easier for people who are suffering from cancer or chronic and other long-term illness to access a medical card without going through this arduous process.

“The Programme for Government commits to a humane approach to discretionary medical cards for patients undergoing cancer treatment. The guidelines used to award discretionary cards for patients undergoing cancer treatment must be more lenient. It’s deeply upsetting for a cancer patient to receive a letter bluntly informing them that they application has been denied. These people are going through a serious trauma in their lives and deserve support from the State.

“The Government needs to review the medical card application process for patients with cancer, terminal illness or chronic conditions. The current approach clearly isn’t working”, concluded Deputy Scanlon.