The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) today welcomed the Government announcement that terminally ill people will no longer have to apply to have their discretionary medical cards renewed.
Currently, everyone is entitled to a medical card if their doctor certifies they have a terminal illness and a limited prognosis – but they must apply to have this renewed after a period of 12 months.
Today Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, said those with a serious illness who hold a discretionary card can be “reassured” that they will retain their card pending implementation of the actions to improve the operation of the scheme.
IHF CEO, Sharon Foley, warmly welcomed the move, saying it was heartening to see the government listen to people’s concerns.
“The renewal process that was in existence was very upsetting for patients and their families. The last thing people nearing end of life need is to be worried about their medical card and if they will be looked after in their last months and weeks of life. The system was very insensitive and we have been campaigning to have this changed.”