Call for frontline HSE staff to make decisions over inhuman computer generated figures in exceptional circumstances - Imelda Munster TD
Sinn Féin TD for Louth and Meath East Imelda Munster has criticised the HSE for its uneconomical method of withdrawing medical cards from people who are seriously ill.
The HSE uses computer generated figures, without an iota of compassion or common sense.
Deputy Munster said:
‘I have been contacted by many seriously ill constituents recently, who are distraught that their Medical Card has been withdrawn because their income is marginally over the limit allowed.
"The Primary Care Reimbursement Services (PCRS) system, which operates on computer generated figures, needs to loosen up and bring a bit of human compassion back into its reckoning.
“They are dealing with people not machines, and all too often the people who contact me about this issue are suffering from serious or life threatening illnesses.
"The additional anxiety and stress that they have to endure because of this heartless system just compounds their health issues.
“When they lose their GMS medical card and find that they can’t pay for the prescriptions that they depend on, even within the Drugs Payment Scheme, people have no option other than to endanger their lives by doing without essential medicines and hospital appointments.
“Amongst others I have been contacted by a man who can’t afford his heart medication and I have seen a number of people with asthma and COPD lung disease who can't afford to get their inhalers.
"Another lady who has suffered multiple aneurysms and has high blood pressure has had her card cancelled and is going without important medication.
“The ridiculous part of this is that it doesn't even make economic sense. The Department of Health still has to pay for anything in excess of €134 at retail prices under the Drugs Payment Scheme rather than at cost price under the General Medical Services.
“I have written to the Minister for Health requesting that local frontline HSE staff who are in a position to advise regarding exceptional circumstances be brought back into the decision making process on these cases.
“By making sick people even sicker this government shows a complete lack of compassion for those who need some breathing space as they navigate acute episodes of care.”