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Increase in Dáil medical card questions

By Dermot - 27th May 2015 | 6 views

Figures supplied to the <em><strong>Medical Independent (MI)</strong></em> by the HSE also show that there were 1,272 PQs regarding medical cards in 2014.

This figure far exceeded the totals for the previous two years, reflecting the huge political storm surrounding criteria and reviews of discretionary medical cards in 2014.

The total figure for all of 2013 was 652 questions, while in 2012, there were 922 questions.

An Executive spokesperson said that, during the first three months of this year, there were 225 written parliamentary questions regarding medical cards referred to the HSE.

“Approximately 90 per cent of such PQs relate to individual medical card queries, with the remaining relating to general queries on other PCRS services and stats,” the spokesperson told <em><strong>MI</strong></em>.

Similarly, in the previous three years, most PQs on medical cards have concerned individual card queries.

Discretionary medical cards and their criteria were a point of major political controversy in 2014. The issue was prominent during the local and European elections in May last year.

The HSE subsequently suspended its review of medical cards issued on a discretionary basis. In June 2014, it said that Government authorisation had been given to enable it to “make the necessary decisions to return medical cards and GP visit cards to those with a life-long medical condition, acute illness or disability” who had their discretionary card removed, under an eligibility review, from June 2011.

As of March, there were 81,265 discretionary medical cards, according to a written response to Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD by the Minister for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch.

This compares with 52,232 discretionary medical cards in May 2014.

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