HSE Produce 10 Step Plan For Medical Card Scheme

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has announced a ten step plan to improve the operation of the medical card scheme, in an effort to make it "more sensitive" to people's needs.

The ten new measures are:

• An enhanced assessment process which takes into account the burden of an illness or a condition;

• The greater exchange of information between the medical card central assessment office and the local health offices;

• People with a serious illness who hold a discretionary card can also be reassured that they will retain their card pending implementation of the actions to improve the operation of the scheme;

• The power of GPs to extend medical cards in difficult circumstances will be strengthened;

• A clinical advisory group is being established by the HSE to develop guidance on assessing applications involving significant medical conditions;

• The default position for medical cards given to people with terminal illnesses is that they will no longer be reviewed;

• The HSE will be empowered to provide people with therapies or appliances if that's what they need, even in the absence of a medical card;

• The HSE will develop a single, integrated process for people to apply for a medical card, a GP visit card, the Long-Term Illness scheme, and the Drugs Payment Scheme;

• Access points will be established around the country in health offices to support and assist people to make applications;

• The Department and the HSE will consider the best way to make medical aids and appliances available to persons who do not hold a medical card, the provision of services to children with severe disabilities, and to enable people with particular needs to have these met on an individual basis rather than awarding a medical card to all family members.

Welcoming the news, Minister of State for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch, said: "The HSE is comprehensively reforming how the medical card scheme operates so that it will be easier for people to understand and will provide a high-quality customer service. People with a serious illness who hold a discretionary card can also be reassured that they will retain their card pending implementation of the actions to improve the operation of the scheme."


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