The number of medical card applications cancelled by the HSE is truly shocking, according to Fianna Fáil TD for Laois and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Seán Fleming.
Deputy Fleming was commenting as a PQ response he received from the HSE stated that 210,600 medical card applications have been cancelled since 2016 because the HSE determined that the information requested was not submitted by the applicant within a reasonable time period.
“This is a shockingly high number of applications to be cancelled and I would like to hear the Minister explain how hundreds of thousands of applications could be culled,” Deputy Fleming said.
“Anyone who has filled out a medical card application form knows that a lot of work and attention goes into filling out the form and into supplying the documentary evidence. Proof of all income must be supplied and in many cases letters need to be obtained from consultants, forms have to be signed by doctors and photocopies of bills must be submitted as evidence of need. It’s particularly hard for those with special needs or the elderly and they often require assistance in submitting the form.”
He said he has come across many cases where applicants who have submitted the required documentation, are contacted some weeks later requesting the documentation again, with the HSE claiming they never received it.
“Shockingly, I have seen people submit the documentation two and three times, and the HSE often say they have still not received it. It’s very frustrating and makes people question whether the system is designed to make them abandon their application,” he said.
“I do accept that in some cases the information requested is not submitted in a timely manner but this level of cancelling the applications by the HSE is totally unacceptable and they must put procedures in place to examine the cause of the problem and eliminate all the shortcomings, many of which are caused directly by the HSE itself,” he concluded.