Dáil Éireann - Volume 527 - 05 December, 2000
Written Answers. - Medical Cards.
Cecilia Keaveney Cecilia Keaveney
246. Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for Health and Children his views on the statistics which show that 113,868 fewer people were eligible for medical cards in 1999 compared to 1995, which represents a drop from 35.76% to 31.42% of the population; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28475/00]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Under the Health Act, 1970, determination of eligibility for medical cards is the responsibility of the chief executive officer of the appropriate health board. Medical cards are issued to persons who, in the opinion of the chief executive officer, are unable, without undue hardship, to provide general practitioner, medical and surgical services for themselves and their dependants.
It is important to note that entitlement to a medical card under the Health Act, 1970 is based on hardship rather than on any specification that a particular number of the population should have a card. The decrease in the percentage of persons with a card is a reflection of a general improvement in the economy in recent years.
As the Deputy may be aware, the health board chief executive officers are undertaking a review of the medical card scheme in keeping with a commitment made under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. Particular emphasis will be placed on the needs of families with children, and on removing anomalies and barriers to take-up, including information deficits.
Dáil Éireann 527 Written Answers. Medical Cards.