Flexibility needed in medical card criteria as cancer patients struggle to meet costs – Smyth

Published on: 21 March 2019

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has called for greater flexibility within the discretionary medical card scheme as cancer patients who have contacted her are paying hundreds of euro a week to access life saving treatments.

Deputy Smyth commented, “I have a number of constituents who are deeply frustrated by the current system.  Just this week I have had one constituent contact me who is paying significant weekly costs for treatment and has been refused a discretionary medical card. How can the government stand over this treatment? It is deeply upsetting, unfair and should be changed”, said Deputy Smyth.

“I raised this a little under one year ago. The lack of action since then is damming of Fine Gael policy. 

“Cancer patients are only entitled to a GP visit card, and while that covers certain costs, the bulk of treatment and medication still falls to the patient.  Many cancer patients apply for a discretionary medical card, but the experience of my constituents has been less than favourable. 

“When applying for a discretionary medical card constituents have commented on the suspicion and questioning they face. For many a cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatment are some of the worst times in a person’s life. The State must not drag them through red tape and questions when it comes to obtaining a discretionary medial card during this time. 

“I would like to see more flexibility within the discretionary system to ensure that help is available to patients who are genuinely struggling with the cost of their healthcare,” concluded Deputy Smyth. 

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