Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has called for the immediate redeployment of civil servants to speed up the processing of medical card applications. Deputy Calleary has described the protracted delays as a disgrace, as thousands of seriously ill people are left unable to pay their medical expenses as they wait for their cards to be renewed.
“I have been inundated with calls from people from across Mayo who are extremely worried about the ongoing delays in issuing and renewing medical cards,” said Deputy Calleary.
“There is a real fear now among health professionals and the public that this is part of an underhand exercise to cut costs. There are growing concerns that the delays are simply a money saving exercise and that the processing of applications is being deliberately dragged out.”
The Deputy said: “This is a serious problem and it’s getting very little attention from the Government. Last year with great fanfare, the Minister for Health James Reilly announced that he was ‘taking control’ of the health service. Where is his control on this issue? The maximum wait for a medical card application to be processed should be 15 days. At the moment it’s looking more like 15 weeks. This has already reached crisis point for thousands of patients around the country, many of whom are seriously ill and need regular medical attention.”
The Deputy concluded: “If there is a shortage of staff to process medical card applications, then under the Croke Park Agreement, staff should be redeployed to speed up the process. I am appealing to the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Minister for Health James Reilly to intervene before the crisis escalates further.”