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Automatic medical cards for DCA children welcome relief for North County families – O’Reilly

7 March, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has welcomed the introduction of the Health (Amendment) Bill 2017 into the Dáil that will finally provide for children in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) to receive a full medical card. The Dublin Fingal TD said that the passage of this legislation was a long time coming given both the work of parents campaigning for this and given that the Dáil passed a Sinn Féin motion on the issue last July.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“In July last year, the Dáil passed a Sinn Féin motion calling for children in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) to receive a full medical card.  I was proud that it passed and that this was included in Budget 2017.

“I would like to publicly acknowledge the work of Our Children’s Health and other parents who have fought tirelessly on this campaign and who, while providing care and looking after their children, have had the strength to follow this through.

“This Bill is a long time coming and I hope that we can expedite its passage, as well as ensuring that the provisions of this Bill take effect as quickly as possible. Finally, ensuring that medical cards will automatically be given to children in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance will be welcome relief for thousands of families across the state, many of whom are in the North County.

“However, it is concerning that parents will not be able to use their new medical cards until 1st June 2017, nearly a year from the Sinn Féin motion. For those of us who are fortunate with good health, or for those who have no caring responsibilities, the importance of a medical card cannot be fathomed in terms of quality of living and quality of care.  The delay then in bringing this long promised proposal to fruition has very real impacts on people’s lives.

“I will be asking the Minister for Health Simon Harris if there is any flexibility in the interim period for those 9,800 children to access the services, the aids, appliances, and supports that having a medical card would bring so that those children will be able to get the medical services they need rather than having to wait until the ‘official date’ of June 2017.

“The Minister must ensure that no further unnecessary ordeal is visited upon these families by further bureaucracy or delays in processing their cards. This legislation is welcome. However, we now need to ensure the smooth passage of the process it provides for.” 

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