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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 28 July, 2014

Some discretionary medical cards to be reinstated ‘within weeks’

Minister James Reilly also apologised for distress caused by the issue, the Our Children’s Health group said.

Minister James Reilly
Minister James Reilly
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Updated 9.27pm

SOME DISCRETIONARY MEDICAL cards could be reinstated before the Dáil breaks for the summer, a children’s health group have been told.

In a meeting with health ministers and HSE bosses on the recent developments regarding medical cards, Our Children’s Health were informed by Minister James Reilly that previously withdrawn discretionary medical cards would be reinstated ‘by the summer at the latest… with the minimum of upset or interference’.

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed this morning “that the groups were advised that the goal of the Government is to resolve that issue before the summer”.

They added that an “external examination of the processed around the rewarding and renewing of medicals” is being undertaken to ensure “the most effective service to the public” is being provided.

‘Flexed’

HSE officials said at the meeting that the system would be ‘flexed’ to accommodate children newly diagnosed with serious illnesses.

Minister Reilly made an apology, the group said, and acknowledged distress caused by the issue.

The group raised concerns over an expert panel appointed by the HSE to examine how medical needs should be taken into account when discretionary medical cards are being granted

“We underlined that any stand-alone list of conditions as recommended by the expert panel will be unable to take account of the full spectrum of extremely rare conditions that exist,” they said.

We put forward that in addition to whatever list is established, provision should be made to grant full eligibility to conditions that are perhaps at this point little known, but clearly of sufficient magnitude to warrant a full medical card.

The newly created Our Children’s Health campaign is calling on the government to amend the Health Act of 1970 so that any child diagnosed with a serious illness or congenital condition is automatically entitled to a full medical card.

The group staged a demonstration on the issue this morning in Cork city.

Originally published 12.25pm

HSE boss: We never asked parents to prove children still had lifelong conditions >

Read: Expert group appointed to decide which conditions should automatically qualify for medical card >

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