A large delegation from the Joint Committee on Health and Children held a positive and constructive meeting with HSE officials at the Medical Card Centre at the HSE Offices in Finglas this morning, March 2nd.
Committee Chairman, Jerry Buttimer TD said: “Today we had an opportunity to see at first hand the work involved in processing medical cards at the centre. Since the processing of medical cards was centralised last July many concerns have been raised about long delays which have caused much anxiety and worry for applicants. Our meeting was an opportunity for members of the committee to outline the experiences of many applicants who have voiced their concerns about the process.
“In a positive and constructive meeting, members of the Committee received a thorough and in-depth briefing from staff and HSE officials at the centre on the key issues involved. We acknowledge that efforts are being made to clear the backlog in card applications. However, there are still more than 31,000 applications to be cleared. Today we received a number of welcome commitments: the HSE has said that it hopes to have the backlog cleared by early May and that, in the interim, it will produce progress reports every two weeks, these reports will be given to the Committee and published online. The HSE has also agreed to report back to the Committee in May.
“The members of the committee want to see the application process become less bureaucratic and focused on the needs of applicants. Measures to make the application procedures more user-friendly have already been made, including verification by GPs for certain categories of patients and an increase in self-assessment. Hopefully the efforts being made over the next few weeks can reduce the anxiety and worry of applicants.
“When the current delays have been resolved the Committee would like to see all applications being processed within 21 days. The priority of the committee is that anyone who is eligible for a medical card receives one in a timely and efficient manner, we will certainly be following up on this issue.”