The cruellest thing she has ever seen is the treatment by the HSE of vulnerable people in need of medical cards, according to Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, who has branded the bureaucrats making the decisions as “very, very sick”.
Speaking at County Hall at last week’s meeting of Portlaoise Town Council, Cllr Fitzgerald said that since being elected in 1994 the medical card debacle has been the biggest social issue she has ever encountered.
“It’s the cruellest thing I’ve ever seen. One reply I heard was, if you’re terminally ill you might get the card, if you’re dying,” she said incredulously. “These are very, very sick people.”
She went on to advise anyone applying for a medical card to get five or six copies of everything and never send just one copy of any form, as the HSE claim in many cases not to have received the necessary paperwork.
The issue was raised by Cllr Willie Aird at the meeting, who lambasted the current system where the HSE take away a person’s card forcing them to reapply.
Cllr Aird said that there was an early high success rate of people having their medical card taken away and then getting it back.
“(The HSE) should lift the phone and let people know they’re taking it away,” he said. “It would avoid stress, and the pain it’s causing is unbelievable. For the majority of people on the medical card it’s a lifeline, nobody has the right with the stroke of a pen to take it away. This issue is worrying everyone, we should send a letter to the minister.