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Call for urgent review of the medical card applications system

Delegates at the Irish Medical Organisation’s annual conference have called on the Minister for Heath to investigate delays in medical cards being issued.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE MINISTER FOR Health has been called upon to launch an urgent review of the medical card system after reports of substantial delays by applicants.

Delegates at the Irish Medical Organisation’s annual conference passed a motion today calling on Minister James Reilly to order a review of the system, after former IMO president Dr Martin Daly said it was “unacceptable” that people who had paid tax all their lives could be left in vulnerable  situations when they were in need of healthcare, RTÉ reports.

In a position paper published today, the IMO warned the Government that the medical card system was close to collapse and urged a debate on the negative effects of competition on healthcare.

Referring to the paper, Gray said that the IMO supported Universal Health Care and “has laid out in its policy position paper on Universal Health Coverage the basis of a future universal health care system regardless of the model of financing.”

“Based on our own experience and the experience of other countries, the IMO has doubts whether an unregulated competitive health market is desirable and has grave concerns about the access and choice, quality of care and affordability under a free market model of health care,” he said.

He called on the Government to publish the White Paper on Universal Health Insurance, in order to progress the debate on the future of Ireland’s health care system, and also to recognise the “role of the GP as gatekeeper/guardian of the health system” in the best interest of the patient and the State.

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