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Children who qualify for Domiciliary Care Allowance must receive medical card – O’Reilly

15 July, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Announcing that Sinn Féin’s Private Members time for next week, a motion to ensure the provision of full medical cards for every child qualifying for the Domiciliary Care Allowance, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD called on the Government to bring forward legislation as a matter of priority.

This follows on from Deputy O’Reilly raising this issue in May with the Taoiseach, advising him that legislation had been prepared to allow for this, so as to avoid any delays in implementing the measure.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“The heart-wrenching stories of seriously ill children and their families made to wait for medical cards are all too real. We in Sinn Féin believe that this should not be allowed continue. Measures can be taken to alleviate this burden and we believe they cannot wait until next year.

“The Government must urgently introduce and implement a schedule for the extension of full medical cards to people with serious illness and disabilities, without a means test and immune from changes to household finances. This is something Sinn Féin have costed and provided for in our health policy and we have drafted legislation to give effect to this.

“The Government’s Programme for Government commits to doing this in Budget 2017, which we welcome, but we believe that this should happen as a matter of priority. These children have already been deemed by the State to have a ‘disability so severe that the child requires care and attention substantially in excess of another child of the same age'. These children must be able to get, and indeed retain, a medical card with the confidence that services and supports are there when required. 

“Not being able to access the medical card because of a full financial audit of a household can cause families undue hardship and stress. This needs to stop and extending the medical card to children in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance is the first step in ensuring that people who need medical cards get access to them. 

“Acceptance of our motion, and indeed our previously drafted legislation, by the Government and its immediate implementation would go some way to addressing inequities in our health system and remove many of the difficulties and burdens families’ experience. Minister Harris has met and made commitments to many of the families affected but they need immediate intervention, and this motion commits the Government to that.” 

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