Medical Cards - Probity review looks set to become a witch-hunt warns IMO GP Committee
Friday 15th November 2013. The GP Committee of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that the HSE’s probity review of medical cards looks set to become a “witch-hunt” against medical card holders. Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, warned that thousands of people in receipt of a medical card face losing their entitlements over the coming months as a result of the probity review being undertaken by the HSE.
Dr. Walley said that the HSE had admitted to the Public Accounts Committee yesterday that they have already reviewed over 750,000 medical cards in the last two years with a further 172,000 to be reviewed in the coming months, given the savings made to date it is simply not credible that anywhere near the Government target of €113m can be saved from the medical card scheme. The HSE also stated that the intention was to review a further one million cards in 2014 which effectively means that every person in possession of a medical card will be reviewed. One can only wonder what the cost of such an exercise is in financial terms to the HSE as against the potential for any savings. “Clearly the instruction has gone down from on-high to interrogate the medical card base in order to cancel as many cards as possible.”
Dr. Walley criticised the continued protestations from the HSE that there has been no change to the criteria set down for the granting of a discretionary medical card; “It is the interpretation of the criteria that has changed and to deny the severe impact of this change in interpretation is completely misleading. Thousands of people who have become dependent on their medical cards have lost them and there is no account for the dramatic financial impact which this can have on the individuals and families involved. Patients are coming to GP surgeries on a daily basis not even aware that their card has been cancelled”
Dr Walley said the only way to deliver the stated aim of the Government for Free GP Care for all is to develop a coherent strategy and resource General Practice.