GPs criticise Government move on medical cards for under-5’s as “political stunt”
Irish Medical Organisation

GPs criticise Government move on medical cards for under-5’s as “political stunt”

“The contrast between the harrowing experience of vulnerable people having their discretionary medical cards withdrawn and young, healthy children from relatively well off families being given free medical care at GPs is striking. Where is our sense of morality gone that this stunt can be described as progress?”.

Monday 14th October 2013. The IMO GP Committee has reacted strongly to reports that the Government will extend Medical Cards for GP care to children under five years of age in tomorrow’s budget.

Speaking today, the Chairman of the GP Committee, Dr. Ray Walley, said that the move smacked of a “political stunt”. He said; “this Government is presiding over the widespread rationing of discretionary medical cards for people with long term illnesses and real medical needs and now it’s engaging in a stunt by extending these cards to tens of thousands of children in relatively wealthy families who by any measure do not need them.”

Dr. Walley said that there was no medical evidence to back up the extension of medical cards to a whole category of the population.
“Income criteria remains the most effective way to capture needy groups and we believe this is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. The contrast between the harrowing experience of people having their discretionary medical cards withdrawn and young, healthy children from relatively well off families being given free medical care at GPs is striking. Where is our sense of morality gone that this stroke can be described as progress?”.

Dr. Walley also expressed amazement that GPs have not yet been contacted about this new service; “This move is not covered by any existing contract between GPs and the HSE and will require negotiation yet no effort has been made to seek the views of those GPs who will be expected to deliver the service.”

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