Close to 1,500 cards withdrawn in last 12 months

Sligo News File Online

New figures have revealed that almost 1,500 medical cards have been removed from people in Sligo and Leitrim in the past year. The statistics, which also show that 300 of those who lost the cards were in their seventies, are contained in a reply to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Fianna Fail Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher 

Senator Pascal Mooney
Senator Pascal Mooney. Fianna Fail.

Denouncing the move, party senator, Paschal Mooney said the cuts “are proof that Government promises to protect the sickest and most vulnerable have been broken once again.

“I am shocked by the drastic reductions in medical cards in Sligo and Leitrim.  The figures indicate that the numbers have been slashed from 43,384 in September 2013 to 41,899 last September. 

“More than 300 of these were 70s cards, which fell from 9,080 to 8,738.   These cuts have had a significant impact on people’s lives.”

Senator Mooney said that for years the Government tried to cover up the fact that it was carrying out a full scale cull of medical cards. 

“They refused to accept that they were subjecting some of the sickest and most vulnerable people to months of unnecessary anxiety and stress as they targeted cards in a bid to cut costs.  Despite the issue being raised repeatedly by Fianna Fáil, Ministers only admitted to the scale of the cutbacks during a backlash ahead of the local elections.

“The latest figures reveal the extent of the cuts, with almost 1,500 people in Sligo and Leitrim losing their cards over the course of one year.  It is appalling to think that the Government is continuing to remove cards from people with serious illnesses and disabilities, as well as from people over 70. 

“I have been contacted by numerous families whose loved ones have had their cards withdrawn or who have been denied their cards on appeal. 

“The Government’s handling of this fiasco has been contemptible and is creating fear among sick and elderly patients, which I believe is completely unnecessary”

Sligo News File. com