Written Answers. - Medical Cards.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

243 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if he has issued a directive to the health boards regarding the refund of payments made by persons age 70 to chemists for drugs after the date in July 2001, when they became entitled to full free medical card cover; and the reason for the delay. [4407/02]

My Department had previously been working to resolve this problem by way of a limited ad hoc repayment scheme covering the months from July to September. However, following consultations with the relevant section in the Department, it became apparent that this issue could not be dealt with on any kind of ex gratia-limited basis as the people involved have a legal entitlement to have all such claims paid. Consequently, officials from my Department raised the issue at a meeting with the health board primary care managers and it is now proposed that all such claims be routed through the existing demand led payment mechanisms.