Written Answers. - Care of the Elderly.

Billy Timmins

Question:

223 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Health and Children the position in relation to chiropody services for public out-patients who are more than 70 years of age, who have medical cards, and who attend chiropodists in public hospitals; if there is a charge for this service to the patient; if individual practitioners can place a charge on patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19070/03]

The provision of medical services for medical card holders is, by legislation, a matter for the chief executive officer of the relevant health board-authority. Medical card patients who are aged 65 years and older are entitled to three chiropody treatments free of charge annually. Individual practitioners should not charge medical card patients for these services.

If the Deputy is aware of specific instances where charges are being levied upon public patients, he should contact the chief executive officer of the relevant health board-authority in order that an investigation might be carried out and that any appropriate remedial action might be taken.