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Dublin: 19°C Monday 8 August 2022

People without medical cards are avoiding doctors like the plague

Although hopefully most of them don’t actually have the plague.

Image: Shutterstock/Kamira

IRISH PEOPLE WITHOUT medical cards are far less likely than those who do have them to visit a doctor.

23% of medical card holders visited their GP in the last week it seems, compared with 4% of people with both no medical card and no medical insurance.

Similarly 78% of medical card holders are routinely prescribed medication compared with 65% of those who hold both no card and no insurance.

The information is contained in a survey undertaken by the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) ahead of their national conference in Killarney this weekend and saw 1,000 people aged 16 and above quizzed as to their medical behaviour.

Graph Percentage of people attending a GP in the last week Source: IPU

President of the IPU Kathy Maher says that the survey’s results indicate the ‘effectiveness’ of the Irish health care system is open to question.

“There’s big differences between (medical card) holders and non-holders when it comes to visiting a GP,” said Maher.

Medical Card holders are much more likely to consider the healthcare system as ‘fit for purpose’.
People who pay for their medical treatment feel let down and this needs to change.

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Maher Kathy Maher Source: Photocall

Maher suggests that if medicines used to treat common complaints were available without prescription it would allow people ‘to avoid the hassle and expense’ of most GP visits.


Although, with the Irish insurance D-Day of 30 April fast approaching it seems that those without medical cards will shortly have to pay more for their medical well-being whether they like it or not.

Read: Here’s what you need to know about the health insurance changes

Read: Fianna Fáil wants a new tax… on sugar

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