Irish Medical Organisation

Following leaked HSE letters - GPs express new concerns over cuts to Medical Cards

Letters show that even HSE is now alarmed at proposed cuts on medical card spending next year 

Saturday 30th November 2013. The Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, Dr. Ray Walley, has warned of “chaos” in the medical card services if the Government persists in its efforts to target €133 million in savings in the coming year – a €20 million increase on the amount originally targeted in the budget.

Dr. Walley was speaking following the publication by the Irish Times of confidential communications sent by the HSE to the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly. In the letter, the Director General of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, warns the Minister that the cuts on medical card spending for next year (€133m) are being taken “against the advice of the HSE and the Department of Health”.

Dr. Walley said that sending these letters on such a sensitive issue represented an “extraordinary” intervention by the HSE. He said; “these letters reflect a growing recognition in the HSE that enormous hardship is going to follow the Government’s decision to target these savings in spending on medical cards.”

Dr. Walley said that the news today confirmed the worst fears of GPs at the time of the budget. He said; “When the budget came we made it clear that the €113 million savings targeted from the so-called “probity” review clearly pointed to an accounting led approach not a medical needs based approach. This is now confirmed and more by the increase of this target to €133 million. We said at the budget that the original target could not be met and that is even more the case with this larger target.”


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