The announcement this morning about the proposed new charges for;
medical cards, prescription charges and nursing home bed closures are
shocking for the 1.4 million citizens who cannot afford to pay for
This is a matter of patient safety of the highest priority. The
government is ultimately accountable for the safety of the patients
that will be affected by these proposed charges if they are
implemented, and Minister Howlin must immediately publish the
“Patient Impact Statements” for these budgetary proposals.
In the IMF briefing paper on Health Care last Sep 2010 among their
suggestions were 1) Increased patient cost sharing and 2) Reduce the
generosity of publically funded benefits packages. Such suggestions if
taken up should be in a measured way that has minimum impact on
patients lives, and the spaciousness of their health.
The current economic crises has added some 200000 additional medical
cards in the 18 months to May of this year, costing approx. for a full
year €64m based on 2009 costs the proposed charges for medical cards
would raise €74m in a full year.
These charges and additional taxes on medical cards, prescription
charges and access to private nursing home beds will cost lives and
create a strain on the public acute hospital system that may indeed
grind it to a halt with more chronically sick patients.
Ireland must protect its values of social solidarity for the most
vulnerable in our society