DONEGAL TD Thomas Pringle has demanded that the handling of the discretionary medical card review be addressed now and that all those entitled should not be left waiting following the suspension of the review.
“Taking away medical cards from those who rely on them the most is barbaric, but simply suspending the review process is not going to solve the situation when it means that the thousands of people that have already lost their discretionary cards will not have them restored,” said Deputy Pringle.
“This week in the Dáil I raised the problems with the medical card system, the removal of discretionary medical cards and the withdrawal of medical cards from seriously ill children and children with life-limiting disabilities. Myself and others have been raising these issues in the Dáil continuously in the past year and a half, but the government wouldn’t listen and look where we are now.
“The government’s decision to suspend the review of discretionary medical cards is not going to solve the problem any time soon because those who have already had them taken away – and we have all heard these heart-breaking stories – will not see justice being served for them. These people are were granted these cards due to having considerable medical needs and now they’re being left in the dark which is very sad indeed.
“The entire assessment process for medical cards needs to be reformed and if this government intends to change the system and make it more responsive, I believe it could be done easily. When an application is received, rather than starting with assessment of means, it should be assessed on medical grounds initially to ensure that if somebody has a medical need they do not need to go through a means test and the card can be awarded. The problem is that applications are being dealt with in such a way that people are prevented from getting their entitlements.
“If this government is serious about rolling back on the discretionary card fiasco, they would not just suspend the review, they would reverse it, and that’s what needs to be done now,” stated Pringle.