Losing medical cards - Right to be worried

GPs are warning that the withdrawal of existing medical cards is causing serious worry among vulnerable people.

The HSE has admitted it cancelled almost 10,000 medical cards, because the holders were no longer entitled to them, but there were also 35,000 other people the HSE insists did not respond to requests for more information.

Many elderly and infirm people are living in dread of losing their medical cards. Health Minister James Reilly insists they are worrying needlessly. “Nobody who is entitled to a medical card will lose it or be refused one,” he insisted recently.

Should anyone really be worried? The minister has promised free GP care for all children under six next year, and by 2016 he has promised free GP care for all.

Why then are the cards now being taken from obviously vulnerable people, like those with Down’s syndrome? Down Syndrome Ireland has said it heard of 100 such children who have had their discretionary cards withdrawn in the past year, but it believes double that number could be affected.

Could it be that Mr Reilly has developed what might be deemed a credibility gap?


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