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Leo I thought you were different, please prove me right.
A boy under ten, with a lifelong condition waiting for another major operation. His family desperately wanting him to be called as soon as possible, but at the same time were praying it wouldn’t be too soon as his medical card renewal, three months later, had still not been processed.
A man with a heart condition in a hospital bed having suffered a stroke after he and his wife made the difficult choice to buy her medication instead of his. They couldn’t afford both while they were waiting months for their medical card renewal to be processed.
And worse of all, a terminal cancer patient paying €300 a go for medication while he waited seven months for the final decision on his medical card renewal. He was refused, despite his grave medical condition, despite there being no difference in the financial information he submitted for his last and successful renewal.
Minister, these are just three of the very many heartbreaking cases we in Sinn Féin have made representation on to the HSE. All have previously held medical cards and for very many years, yet for unknown reasons were months without cover while their applications were being ‘processed’.
Having rang or emailed the HSE, almost on a daily basis, out of sheer desperation we contacted your office: sending a personal email and phone calls to your secretary, imploring you to please do something in relation to the unjustified delays in processing applications generally and specific urgent cases. I explained that despite scores of emails and phone calls the cancer patient was no closer to receiving his card. The most recent excuse was a date was missing from one piece of documentation. He submitted it with a date and waited nearly two months before being told his card would not be renewed. He can appeal, but will he live long enough to see whether terminal cancer is considered exceptional grounds for a discretionary card?
I have, despite our political differences, admired your straight talking and ‘let’s get things done’ attitude. When I heard of your new appointment I really thought you would be different. You would be the one to shake things up. Was I wrong?
Please minister, prove I was right, and do right by those who need you to. Sort out this medical card fiasco. Ensure the health of vulnerable people is not further compromised beyond what it already has been. Ensure this terminal patient has one less worry and has his card restored.
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