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Medical Cards for children cannot wait until 2017 – O’Reilly

19 July, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


Moving Sinn Féin’s motion on awarding medical cards to sick children who qualify for Domiciliary Care allowance, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD said that we “need to end the two-tier health care system and we need to move towards a system where every person who needs health care will have that need met”. This could be kickstarted by working with parents who need our solidarity and support.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“It is important that as we rise for the summer recess, we remember that for thousands of families across the state- there is no respite. They have sick children; children who need care, children who need access to services. They battle every day for their children. And, sadly to say, many of their battles are with the state – and this is wrong, but today, I hope, we can move to lifting one of the greatest hurdles these families are facing- access to medical cards.

“We must ask what sort of system withholds medical cards from children with severe disabilities or life-threatening, and sometimes, terminal illnesses? What sort of system tells the parents of a young child with such disabilities and illnesses that the granting or continuation of a child's medical card depends on the parents jumping through bureaucratic hoops to prove they do not earn too much? 

“Access to quality health care should be a right, not a concession to be granted or withheld by any government, Minister or civil servant. We need to end the two-tier health care system and we need to move towards a system where every person who needs health care will have that need met.

“Our first step is the 10,000 medical cards for sick children, then we must legislate for a distinct, new ‘medical need’ ground for eligibility for the medical card with an associated application route, using the DCA assessment framework as a model.

“Minister, as you know from your meeting with Our Children’s Health, for these worn out parents, the medical card process is torture in slow motion, with constant form filling, endless reviews, rejection and appeals. We can no longer tolerate this lottery; this lucky bag of uncertainty. These parents need our solidarity and support and we can offer that to them tonight.

“Many of the parents affected are concerned that this will be delayed, that logistically there may not be an outcome from the announcement until 2017. Sinn Féin produced legislation on this that we would be happy to share with the Minister. These children cannot wait until 2017.” 

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