To ask the Minister for Health the number of medical card applications that have been successfully reviewed and awarded after failing a means test; the number of these that are patients who are in need of continuous mental health treatment; if he will provide a list of conditions that have been considered eligible by the Chief Medical Officer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Reply Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD
I am advised by the HSE that in total, 11,800 discretionary medical cards and GP visit cards were issued or renewed from January to September 2012.
Medical cards are not awarded to any particular group of patients on the basis of a specific medical condition. Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. Unsuccessful medical card applicants who indicate that they suffer from a particular medical condition are referred to the Medical Officer for consideration on a medical discretionary basis. The Medical Officer considers the medical condition and financial circumstances of the applicant on a case by case basis before making a decision. There is no breakdown of medical conditions currently available in relation to discretionary medical card / GP visit cards issued.