Brendan Smith welcomes medical card access for terminally ill patients with prognosis of up to 24-months

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed confirmation that, on a 12-month interim basis, people with a terminal illness who have unfortunately received a prognosis of 24 months will be awarded a medical card. 

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “Having asked the Minister for Heath if arrangements have been put in place to expand access to medical cards, making them available to all who are terminally ill and have a prognosis of up to 24-months, I have been informed that an interim arrangement for 12 months will make this possible, with legislative options being developed to extend discretionary medical cards to those with a terminal illness.” 

The Cavan/Monaghan TD added: “I have also been informed that these applications will not require a means assessment, nor will they be reassessed. The Department of Health stated that it has been actively engaging with the HSE’s National Medical Card Unit to ensure all necessary processes and communications to operationalise the scheme are in place very shortly.” 

In relation to the current processing times of applications, the HSE has a system in place for the efficient provision of medical cards in response to emergency situations i.e. in circumstances where persons are in need of urgent ongoing medical care and also for persons receiving end of life treatment – that is when patients’ unfortunately have a prognosis of less than 12 months. In these cases, a medical card is issued within 24 hours of receipt of the required patient details and completed medical report by a healthcare professional.