Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West and chairperson of the disability committee, Michael Moynihan, has called on the Minister for Health to prioritise and address the backlog surrounding Primary Medical Certificate applications as a matter of urgency.
The cert provides a tax relief or fuel rebate to disabled drivers and passengers, and in many cases these reliefs can be used to help them adapt their vehicles.
Deputy Moynihan commented, “Many families are awaiting these applications to be processed to make urgent adaptations to their cars, for drivers and passengers with disabilities. Independent, private travel is more important than ever to this cohort of people. Without these certificates, their independence is curtailed.
“By way of parliamentary question, I asked the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, when Primary Medical Certificate applications will begin to be processed and if steps are being taken to address the backlog.
“In response, Minister Donnelly stated that in the context of the national effort to suppress and manage the impact of COVID, the ability to hold assessments is impacted by, among other things, the public health restrictions in place and the role of the HSE Medical Officers in the roll out of the COVID vaccination programme.
“He went on to say that the HSE has confirmed that the Community Medical Doctors and their teams are predominately deployed to the COVID vaccination rollout in residential care facilities and other health care settings.
“I understand that the HSE is considering the matter of Primary Medical Certificate assessments in the context of their revision of the HSE Recovery and Restoration Plan, taking into account the pressures and challenges to the health services presented by COVID.
“This issue requires urgent action as many people rely on these certificates to get a vehicle on the road for necessary and urgent transport. It is unfair and unacceptable to leave these drivers without the certificates they require.
“I am calling on the Minister to put every effort into resolving this issue immediately and will do everything within my power to ensure that he does,” concluded Deputy Moynihan.