I propose to take Questions Nos. 782 and 783 together.
A number of difficulties arose with the processing of medical cards at the HSE centralised application office in the final quarter of last year, which gave rise to a very large backlog and long delays for both new applicants and medical card renewals. While a number of customer service and communication issues remain to be addressed, the HSE has been making good progress in eliminating the backlog and preventing further backlogs occurring. A backlog of 58,000 applications from last year has been completely cleared. The HSE can receive up to 50,000 applications per month and, currently, over 95% of complete applications are processed within 15 days.
The information sought by the Deputy regarding figures for numbers of medical card appeals is not readily available. However, I have asked the Health Service Executive to supply this information to me and I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as possible.