Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (405)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

405. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health if the bureaucratic barriers for Travellers accessing medical cards will be reduced in view of the literacy challenges faced by some Travellers; if free general practitioner healthcare will be provided to all Travellers within five years in line with Sláintecare; if Travellers will be prioritised in the process in view of their poor health outcomes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47514/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

In accordance with the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for a medical card is determined by the HSE. Every effort is made by the HSE, within the framework of the legislation, to provide a medical card application system that is responsive and sensitive to people’s needs. If the HSE is made aware that a person has particular requirements, assistance will be afforded to help that person complete the application. This assistance can be availed of through a person's local health office or by calling LoCall 1890 252 919.Regarding eligibility for health services in Ireland, this is based primarily on residency and means, in accordance with the provisions of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The Act provides that persons who are unable, without undue hardship, to arrange GP services for themselves and family can qualify for full eligibility (a medical card). The HSE's Expert Group on Medical Need and Medical Card Eligibility examined the issue of awarding medical cards and concluded that a person’s means should remain the main qualifier for a medical card. This position remains unchanged.Sláintecare provides the framework within which a system-wide health reform programme will be advanced, including a phased expansion of eligibility to move towards universal healthcare. To that end, it will be necessary to review the current eligibility framework for all services and consider different options that will enable a phased expansion of universal access to a prescribed range of services. These options will take account of the ability of the health system to meet the increase in demand that would be expected, including the resource requirements needed from a workforce and service delivery perspective, as well as the impact on the effective management of the financial resources of the total health service.