Thursday, 20 June 2013

Questions (245)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

245. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that the Health Service Executive puts in place a priority emergency system for persons who are terminally ill and applying for and trying to secure a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29885/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has an effective system in place for the provision of emergency medical cards for patients who are terminally ill, or who are seriously ill and in urgent need of medical care that they cannot afford. They are issued within twenty-four hours of receipt of the required patient details and the letter of confirmation of the condition from a doctor or a medical consultant. With the exception of terminally ill patients, the HSE issues all emergency cards on the basis that the patient is eligible for a medical card on the basis of means or undue hardship, and that the applicant will follow up with a full application within a number of weeks of receiving the emergency card. As a result, emergency medical cards are issued to a named individual, with a limited eligibility period of six months. For persons with a terminal illness, no means test applies. Once the terminal illness is verified, patients are given an emergency medical card for six months. Given the nature and urgency of the issue, the HSE has appropriate escalation routes to ensure that the person gets the card as quickly as possible.