AN avalanche of online comment followed a local TD’s revelation that the HSE has cancelled 201,600 medical cards over the past three years.
Deputy Seán Fleming of Fianna Fáil described the information he received from the HSE as “truly shocking”.
In reply to his request for the data, the Castletown-based TD said: “In 2016, the number of applications that were cancelled was 58,122; in the following year, the figure was 68,767; in 2018 it was 64,817; and for the first seven months of this year the number stood at 18,894.
Deputy Fleming said: “Anyone who has filled out a medical card application form knows that a lot of work and attention goes into completing it and to supplying the documentary evidence. Proof of all income must be supplied. In many cases, letters need to be obtained from consultants, forms have to be signed by doctors and photocopies of bills must be submitted as evidence of need. It’s particularly hard for those with special needs or the elderly. They often require assistance in submitting the form.
“I have come across many cases where applicants who have submitted the required documentation are contacted some weeks later requesting the documentation again, with the HSE claiming they never received it. I have seen people submit the documentation two and three times and the HSE often say they have still not received it. It’s very frustrating. It makes people question whether the system is designed to make them abandon their application?”