Limerick East): Under the Health Act, 1970, medical cards are issued to persons who, in the opinion of the chief executive officer of the appropriate health board are unable, without undue hardship, to provide general practitioner services for themselves and their dependants.
Income guidelines are drawn up by the chief executive officers to assist in the determination of a person's eligibility and these guidelines are revised annually in line with the consumer price index. However, these guidelines are not statutorily binding and even though a person's income exceeds the guidelines, that person may still be awarded a medical card if the chief executive officer considers that the person's medical needs or other circumstances would justify this. Medical cards may also be awarded to individual family members.
I have had inquiries made of the South-Eastern Health Board concerning this case and have been informed that the application was unsuccessful as the person's income was well above the standard income guidelines normally used to assist in determining eligibility. I have been assured that the health board has considered the application on the basis of hardship and has recently decided that the applicant would not be entitled to a medical card on this basis.