Medical card apology ‘not good enough unless they compensate us

Jackie Connolly said she is delighted that her daughter, Katie, 6, will get her medical card back, but said the Government’s apology for the stress her and other families have suffered "is not good enough unless they compensate parents".

Medical card apology ‘not good enough unless they compensate us

She estimates the annual medical bill for her daughter who has Down Syndrome and suffers from a range of medical conditions including juvenile arthritis, asthma, and a heart condition, runs to more than €7,000.

The medical card which Katie had since birth but was removed unexpectedly last November, helped towards some, but not all of these costs.

She requires a monthly injection that costs €500 and needs about €1,000 a year of medication on top of that. While she was granted a long-term illness card, she still had to pay for GP visits which she requires at least once a month.

Jackie, from Douglas in Cork, said the worst thing about the past six months is that the family had to make difficult choices between her child’s medical care and vital therapies that are crucial to helping a person with Down Syndrome to live a more independent life.

During the time without her card, she had to forego some occupational therapy which costs €70 per session and speech and language therapy which costs €40 per session.

“That’s where we would have been caught, on whether to go to doctor or to spend it on therapy,” she said.

“That’s not fair for her because she needs all these therapies so she can attend mainstream school and become more included in society. At the end of day, we want her to be independent and included in society and not on the margins.

“I don’t think the Government’s apology is good enough unless they compensate parents.”

Jackie is also annoyed with Fine Gael and Labour TDs who she said did not do enough to push the Government on the issue.

“Its’ a pity the local TDs didn’t do anything about it. They weren’t interested until after the election and then all of a sudden Cabinet was able to take action on it,” she said.

“We have raised this issue since November and they didn’t do anything then.

“It’s been a hard long struggle and there were a lot of anxious moments, but now I can focus on my daughter and spending my time with her, instead of fighting for her medical card.

“It was morally wrong that it was ever taken away in the first place,” she said.

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