A Portlaoise councillor has called on the Minister for Health to stop taking medical cards off people with cancer.
Cllr Noel Tuohy has condemned what he said is a “pitiful, miserly, mean and penny pinching policy” of removing medical cards from people with life threatening conditions.
“Families in dire need of a medical card are being made pay the price for mismanagement and HSE budget overruns. That is an outrage and a scandal and we have to join forces in having this policy stopped and overturned,” said the Labour Party county councillor.
He tabled a motion at the September council meeting, to ask Minister Simon Harris to direct the Health Service Executive to immediately stop the practice of removing medical cards from people with life threatening long term illnesses, and the policy of revoking cards due to technical errors. He says this was done to over 200,000 medical card holders.
Cllr Tuohy has said he was contacted by three local patients affected.
“To be fair, our local Fianna Fail TD, Sean Fleming has highlighted this issue. But he and Fianna Fail must now go further,” said the Portlaoise Municipal District councillor.
“People who are sick should have access to their GP without having to worry if they can afford the €60. People who have cancer need their medical card as they don't need and can't afford the added stress. People who have life limiting conditions and who are recommended by their GP and consultants to qualify for a medical card on the basis of medical need should not have their medical cards revoked.
"We are told that prevention is better than cure; that people should not be clogging up A&E's and hospital beds but ironically it is this pitiful, miserly, mean and penny pinching policy that is actually contributing to the waiting lists and the trolleys in our hospital corridors,” he said.
It is one of three letters to be sent to Minister Harris following motions at the council meeting.
The others are from Fine Gael Cllrs Mary Sweeney on staff shortages for young adult mental health services in Laois and Cllr Conor Bergin on the lack of HSE dentists for Laois schoolchildren.