Medical Cards for sick children now, not 2017 – O’Reilly
Speaking about Sinn Féin’s Private Members motion this week which would 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 Minister Harris to bring forward the legislation as a matter of priority.
Deputy O’Reilly said:
“Last week, Minister Harris met with Our Children’s Health and committed to the automatic provision of medical cards for very sick children who are in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA). However, there is no certainty about when this legislation will be brought forward or even enacted. The earliest timeframe for its enactment is 2017, with speculation that it may take as long as mid-2017. This is not good enough.
“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. The Minister’s commitment to provide the medical cards is welcome, but the children and their families should not be made wait any longer.
“These are children whose parents have been forced to fight tooth and nail, whose attentions should be focused on care, but who very often are left wrangling with the apparatus of the state for basic medical needs.
“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. We have already drafted a Bill to give effect to these changes and can make it available to Minister Harris, so that he may expedite this process.
“Acceptance of our motion, and indeed our previously drafted legislation, by the Government and its immediate implementation would go some way to remove many of the difficulties and burdens families’ with sick children experience. I do not believe that the Government should oppose this motion, and I hope it will garner the full support of the House to show these children, their parents and families, that severely sick and disabled children will not be neglected in our society.”