Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth its urging the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to engage with GPs over the introduction of new Illness Benefit forms.

Doctors across the country are refusing to use the new forms, and are continuing to fill out the old MC1 and MC2 forms, which is leading to a delay in patients receiving their payments.

Deputy Smyth commented, “I have had a number of people contact my offices, extremely distressed because they are not receiving their illness benefit.  One man has not received a payment in over three weeks, while others are only receiving partial payments.  This is causing undue anguish for people who have bills to pay.

“Minister Regina Doherty must take charge of this situation.  The decision to roll out these new forms without any consultation with GPs was deeply flawed and has now led to gaps in payments for patients.  This is deeply unfair.

“Doctors should not be expected to have unilateral decisions imposed on them, however for the sake of their patients I would encourage them to engage with Department and explore the options open to them.  Likewise the Minister and her officials need to recognise their error and engage with GPs on this issue.

“I am urging both sides to continue negotiations so that the patients, who should be at the heart of this system, are not faced with long delays in their illness benefit payments.”