Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (460, 524, 529, 571, 574)

Dara Calleary

Question:

460. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if discretionary medical card applicants who had their cards removed upon review in the past two years will have them restored in view of the recent announcement that reviews of such cards are to be suspended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24087/14]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

524. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health in view of the recent decision to cease reviewing discretionary medical cards, if he will ensure that everyone who had a discretionary medical card and lost it will have it reinstated to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24478/14]

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Charlie McConalogue

Question:

529. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health if spina bifida and hydrocephalus will be included in the list of conditions for entitlement to a medical card; if not the reasons for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24492/14]

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Robert Troy

Question:

571. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that a discretionary medical card is reinstated in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath. [24789/14]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

574. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if an application for a medical card in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be reassessed as a matter of urgency in view of the fact that their medical card granted on a discretionary basis was recently withdrawn; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24801/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 460, 524, 529, 571 and 574 together.

The Government has decided to develop a new policy framework for eligibility for the award of medical cards to take account of on-going medical conditions. The HSE has established an Expert Panel to examine the range of conditions that should be considered as a basis of eligibility and has been asked to make an early report to Government. In this context, the HSE has decided to suspend reviews of medical cards where discretion had been exercised to take account of medical circumstances, pending the outcome of this process. This includes people who are currently in the appeals process. The HSE has extended eligibility of the individuals concerned, who are in the process of being advised in the normal way.

The Government is examining how best to address the situation of persons with serious medical conditions who had been issued with a medical card on a discretionary basis, but who have already completed the review process (and appeal process, as relevant) and who are not eligible to retain that card. The Government is examining the most effective and timely way of progressing such change.