Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has called for more public servants to the redeployed to speed up the processing of medical card applications. Deputy Troy raised the issue with the Government in the Dáil this afternoon.
Deputy Troy said: “I have received hundreds of correspondence and phone calls from concerned constituents about delays of months to medical card applications and renewals. I know from taking to colleagues in Fianna Fáil and other parties that this is not unique. There is a very serious problem and it is not being addressed.
“The Minister for Health, with great fanfare, announced that he was ‘taking control’ of the health service. I want to know if the Minister is satisfied with the medical card processing delays and if not, what exactly he is doing to address this issue.
“People have told me they believe these delays are a money saving exercise and that the processing of applications is being deliberately dragged out. I asked Minister Jan O’Sullivan if the Government was engaged in a cynical ploy to cut costs and was very concerned by her vague reply of, ‘not to my knowledge’. This is not good enough and I will be raising this issue again.
“I put a number of examples to Minister O’Sullivan in the Dáil this afternoon. I have come across serious cases of hardship where people clearly in need of medical cards are extremely frustration and anxious by the delays their experiencing.
TDs are now being limited in the number of enquiries that they can submit at any one time on medical cards. Deputy Troy told the Dáil: “If there is a shortage of staff to process medical card applications then under the Croke Park Agreement staff should be redeployed to speed up the process. There is suppose to be a 15 days processing period, at the moment we’re looking at 15 weeks in many cases.”
In conclusion Deputy Troy “expressed disappointment that neither the Minister for Health or the Minister of State at the Department made themselves available to address the issue in the Dáil.”