Health Minister James Reilly has welcomed the HSE's plans to improve its communications on the issue of medical cards and to ensure the public has all the information it needs.
Following public concerns on the reported tightening up of criteria for granting and renewing medical cards, the HSE today announced new measures to improve the provision of information to the public about medical cards.
Minister Reilly said this was in response to a request from him.
"People need full information around medical cards. They are naturally worried and become anxious when they can’t get full access to all the facts they need. I welcome this major campaign being rolled out by the HSE over the coming weeks, which I hope will help explain clearly people's entitlements and may ease the fears of those who have been worried unnecessarily."
The Minister said no one who was entitled to a medical card need worry about losing that card.
"Despite the significant savings to be made by the HSE in the year ahead, nobody who is entitled to a medical card will lose it or be refused one."
Minister Reilly has been under considerable political pressure in recent weeks following reports of a massive withdrawal or downgrading of discretionary cards from seriously ill people, and following a 'probity review' and new eligibility restrictions on over 70s cards announced in the recent Budget.
The HSE's new medical card eligibility communication plans include: providing extra resources to the national call centre for public enquiries (tel 1890 25 2919); a public information campaign through media advertisements, the development of a new information leaflet, improved support on the HSE website; new training for front line staff. and more.
More information about medical card eligibility is available here