Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (259, 260, 261)

Denis Naughten

Question:

339 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the total number of medical cards issued in County Roscommon for each year from 1997 to 2004; the number each year that were issued to those over 70; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7078/04]

View answer

Denis Naughten

Question:

340 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the total number of medical cards issued in County Longford for each year from 1997 to 2004; the number each year that were issued to those over 70; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7079/04]

View answer

Denis Naughten

Question:

341 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the total number of medical cards issued in County Leitrim for each year from 1997 to 2004; the number each year that were issued to those over 70; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7080/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 339 to 341, inclusive, together.

The statistical information in respect of the number of medical cards in the three counties for the specific years, provided by the relevant health boards, is provided in the following tabular form.

County

Year

Number of persons covered

Roscommon

1997

23,629

1998

22,332

1999

21,373

2000

20,575

2001

20,894

2002

20,376

2003

20,165

Leitrim

1997

12,246

1998

11,914

1999

11,766

2000

11,555

2001

11,539

2002

11,476

2003

11,236

Longford

1997

12,880

1998

12,889

1999

12,450

2000

12,557

2001

12,890

2002

12,499

2003

12,171

The reduction in the number of persons covered by medical cards in recent years can be attributed in some measure to the rise in the numbers of persons in employment. Another factor was the data-cleaning exercise which was carried out on medical card lists on health boards' databases. Since early 2003 this has resulted in more than 80,000 persons being removed from the registers nationally. It should be noted that most of these deletions arose from normal medical card review activity.

Annual statistical data on this group of persons was categorised as persons aged 65 years and over until 2002. While the national medical card coverage for these categories for the years mentioned is detailed in the following table, it is intended to provide to the Deputy under separate cover a breakdown by specified county for persons aged 70 years and over for the years since 2002.

Year

Age band

Number of persons covered

1997

Aged 65 years and over

294,526

1998

296,682

1999

312,687

2000

323,418

2001

397,590

2002

Aged 70 years and over

317,374

2003

309,612

February 2004

308,277