Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Questions (173)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

229 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has received correspondence from a union (details supplied) regarding medical card processing; her plans to address the concerns raised in such correspondence; if she will take on board the issues raised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9038/10]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

I have received three letters from IMPACT, dated 17th August 2009, 23rd December 2009 and 10th February 2010 in relation to this matter. Following the change in medical card eligibility for persons aged 70 and over in the Health Act 2008, the Health Service Executive (HSE) through its Service Plan for 2009, advised the Department of its decision to centralise the processing of all medical card and GP visit card applications and renewals to the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) in Dublin. The HSE has indicated that this decision was taken in the context of the Executive's requirements to make efficiencies in business practices that could realise savings in a very challenging economic environment and provide a modern service to the public within sustainable levels of expenditure.

I wrote to all Oireachtas members on 19th January 2010 outlining a range of measures being employed by the Executive to address issues arising from this initiative and I also referred to the various enhancements that this process will facilitate upon completion. As stated in that letter, I fully support the HSE's decision to centralise the processing of all medical card applications and reviews.