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Clarity needed on Minister Doherty’s actions on Illness Benefit shambles – Brady

7 November, 2018 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Minister Regina Doherty has yet to clarify what actions she took and when, in order to deal with the ongoing difficulties around Illness Benefit.

Teachta Brady said:

“Sinn Féin first raised issues brought to our attention around changes to the Illness Benefit scheme back in August. These issues were primarily around changes to the GP forms without proper consultation and the impact and confusion this was having on patients.

“Following this, we have had various issues with payments to Illness Benefit recipients and then problems around the issuing of medical review forms.

“Minister Doherty has blamed the payment issues on the transition to a new IT system and we are yet to receive any further information on this. We do not know if the new IT system had been tried and tested ahead of its implementation. We do not know if staff had been trained on the new system and how it would work.

“Yesterday, when I raised this issue with Minister Doherty in the Dáil she cited ‘remedial actions taken by the Department in the last number of days’ and ‘action taken on two occasions last week’. If this is true and these were the first actions taken to resolve the issue, the Minister needs to clarify why it took her so long to take action.

“There remains a huge difficulty for people trying to get through to the Illness Benefit Section by phone. This has not been mentioned, acknowledged or resolved by the Minister.

“I am now calling on Minister Doherty to provide clarity as regards when and what actions she took to deal with issues to resolve this absolute shambolic situation.” 

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