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Centralisation of medical card applications must be stopped – Ó Caoláin

19 August, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has demanded the immediate scrapping of the HSE plan to centralise the processing of all medical card applications.

Deputy Ó Caoláin gave his backing and that of Sinn Féin to the campaign by IMPACT trade union against this centralisation plan.

He stated:

“The HSE is planning to remove the processing of medical card applications from local HSE offices to a central bureaucracy in Dublin. This is clearly a plan designed to cut the number of medical cards granted by taking no account of people’s circumstances other than strict income criteria. It will be both unfair and hugely inefficient, leading to great inconvenience for applicants and a bureaucratic nightmare for the HSE itself.

“This massive change in the medical card system has been conceived without any reference to the Oireachtas and with not even a comment from the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney. I have no doubt that she has fully approved this sinister development.

“This plan would remove the element of local knowledge and experience which is essential in assessing people’s entitlement to medical cards. It will replace personal service by public servants in regional offices with a faceless bureaucracy in Dublin. This would be especially difficult for older people.

“Sinn Féin fully supports IMPACT in its campaign of opposition and demands that Health Minister Mary Harney immediately call a halt to the HSE’s totally ill-conceived plan.” ENDS

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