Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the survey carried out by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland and pubished today confirms the damaging impact of the Government’s health cuts on the lives of people with serious medical conditions. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“This latest survey is yet another wake-up call on the real effects of the health and social welfare cutbacks the Government has imposed in recent years.
“Anyone who has any concept of the challenges facing people with neurological conditions must be deeply concerned at results showing that 42% of medical card holders surveyed have had their medical card withdrawn and that 50% of those applying for a medical card had been refused. This is a very significant increase on the findings for last year.
“In the Dáil and in the Health Committee we have repeatedly challenged Health Minister James Reilly about the effects of his policy of effectively abolishing the discretionary medical card. Again and again he has denied such a policy exists but as public representatives we are hearing every day from people who have lost or are being denied a medical card to which they should be entitled. This survey provides further confirmation.
“The survey also shows 82% affected by increases in medicine costs, 68% by changes to the Mobility Allowance, 64% by cuts to home care packages, 59% by reduction in home help hours, 54% by reductions in HSE transport services.
“The Government talks of an economic recovery. There is no sign of it in this survey. This is the cutting edge of austerity and the people being hurt most are some of the most vulnerable people.
“We all need to unite as much as possible and to fight back. How dare the Government talk of recovery when the ill, the disabled, the elderly and so many other sectors of our society are being driven deeper into hardship while the privileged are protected.”