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Medical Cards for children cannot be held up indefinitely – O’Reilly

17 January, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Raising the issue of the Budget commitment to award medical cards to sick children who qualify for Domiciliary Care allowance, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD said that these medical cards cannot be held up indefinitely, and the legislation must be published and passed as soon as possible.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“It is important as we start this new term that 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. We had hoped that when the Dáil passed a Sinn Féin motion last July, and the Government made a budget commitment in October that we would swiftly move to lift one of the greatest hurdles these families are facing- access to medical cards- but this has not yet happened.

“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 health care should be a right, not a concession to be granted or withheld by any government, Minister or civil servant. The fact that we still have not seen the Bill, nor is there any word of when it will enter pre legislative scrutiny, or the Dáil, is disgraceful.

“There is no certainty about when this legislation will be brought forward or even enacted. We are now in 2017. This is not good enough. Parents had high hopes after the Budget announcement, yet the Government have dragged this out and are continuing to do so.

“The Minister knows, from his own 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. Many of the parents affected are gravely concerned that this has been delayed, that logistically there may not be an outcome from the announcement until the middle of 2017. 

“Sinn Féin produced legislation on this that could be introduced immediately if the Minister had the political will to do so. These children cannot wait any longer.” 

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