Woman, 100, to lose medical card

A 100-YEAR-OLD woman was ordered to hand over her medical card in a letter from the HSE which she received late last month, it has emerged.

A 100-YEAR-OLD woman was ordered to hand over her medical card in a letter from the HSE which she received late last month, it has emerged.

The situation, made public by Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) GP committee chair Dr Martin Daly, arose after a dozen patients at a single GP practice in Galway, whose illnesses meant they all qualified for the state serviceregardless of income, received letters from the HSE in recent weeks informing them they were no longer eligible. According to Dr Daly, while the 100-year-old woman is in good health, she has a close family relative who has a chronic health problem — leading to calls that she is in vital need of the documentation.

It is understood that at the end of March, all of the elderly patients involved received letters from the HSE informing them that they were no longer eligible for the free healthcare service, despite administration staff at the HSE’s medical card centre in Finglas stating that there is a three-month extension to the initial March 2 deadline to surrender ineligible cards — a claim the HSE has said is “inaccurate”.

“There was a lot of surprise over this, a lot of concern, because these people are very elderly people in nursing homes and respite care,” explained Dr Daly.

“They were told they were no longer eligible for the card, then they were told they could re-apply to get it back, but there is a lot of concern over how this issue is being handled,” he said.

A separate HSE “database review” of medical cards is now taking place to ensure that any further “unfortunate” administrative errors do not occur.

Meanwhile, new figures from the HSE show that residents in west Cork have handed back the least number of over-70s medical cards.

According to the breakdown provided to the Irish Medical News, of the 10,182 people who have already surrendered their cards in accordance with new eligibility rules, just 83 were from the west Cork area.

A total of 925 cards were returned from the county as a whole, with 413 cards returned from Galway, 325 from Limerick, and 301 from Wicklow respectively.

The Dublin region saw the highest number of cards returned from people who no longer meet the under e700-a-week income restriction, with the 1,666 documents given back from south Dublin the highest in the capital.

A further 1,084 cards have been returned from Dublin South East, 634 cards from South City Dublin, 211 from Dublin South West, 600 from North Dublin, 371 from Dublin North Central, and 330 from North West Dublin.


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