If you would like to submit a contribution to our Readers Blog section then follow this link. Be sure to include your full name, address and contact number otherwise your submission will not be considered for publication. We will contact you prior to publication.

No change in issuing of medical cards for 40 years

Your recent article (Nov 11), ‘Parents rally over withdrawal of vital Supports,’ said the HSE had insisted that there had been “no alteration in the guidelines” for the allocation of medical cards.

There has been confusion over this matter and, for the sake of accuracy, I wish to clarify.

There has been no change to policy, regarding the issuing of medical cards, since 1970/1971. As the policy stands, a person can access general practitioner and surgical services without undue hardship.

This is underpinned by statute, through the Health Act of 1970.

Following various Budget decisions by governments since 2009, there have been amendments to the guidelines (which provide guidance to the HSE on how it should administer the policy).

These include a reduction in the income thresholds for over-70s, the disallowing of the first €50 of travel-to-work costs, and the servicing of loans for home improvements.

What has changed significantly is how the medical card system is administered.

Prior to 2011, medical cards were assessed in more than 100 locations — a consistent assessment could not be guaranteed.

In 2011, the process was centralised to ensure that the guidelines for eligibility were being applied consistently, objectively, and equitably throughout the country.

The granting of a medical card, on a discretionary basis, remains a regular and routine aspect of the assessment, which is now undertaken in conjunction with a medical officer’s assessment, where the professional opinion of the applicant’s GP or consultant is often sought. Anybody who qualifies, as per the current guidelines, will receive, or continue to hold, a medical card. Discretion will continue to be applied fairly, and compassionately, for those people whose incomes exceed the prescribed thresholds.

For more information on medical cards, I would urge people to log on to Wwww.hse.ie/medicalcard. Or, phone the lo-call number, 1890 252 919.

Paul Connors
National Director for Communications, HSE
Dr Steevens’ Hospital
Dublin 8


In an industry where women battle ageism and sexism, Meryl Streep has managed to decide her own destiny – and roles, writes Suzanne HarringtonJeepers Streepers: Hollywood royalty, all hail queen Meryl

'Ask Audrey' has been the newspaper's hysterical agony aunt “for ages, like”.Ask Audrey: Guten tag. Vot the f**k is the story with your cycle lanes?

Daphne Wright’s major new exhibition at the Crawford addresses such subjects as ageing and consumerism, writes Colette SheridanFinding inspiration in domestic situations

Christian Bale and Matt Damon tell Laura Harding about their roles in Le Mans ‘66, the tale of the men paid by Ford to take on the dominance of Ferrari in the motor-racing worldFoot to the floor: Christian Bale and Matt Damon talk about Ford, Ferrari and the 24 hours of Le Mans

More From The Irish Examiner