Numbers of Medical Cards and Doctor only visiting cards Soar in past 2 years

For the 2,244 or so family Doctors who treat public patients, their potential work load has increases

This increase must be driven from other areas besides unemployment and those on the live register which are relatively unchanged over the period 300k and 14.7% – 14.3%  respectively. This situation is more of a reflection of the current economic environment; falling incomes and other calls on disposable income. More needs to be done to understand  the sources of these increases.ignificantly over the period from Jan 2010 to end Q1 2012. The numbers of medical cards issued at the end of March 2012 now stand at the highest level in its 40 years of operation since 1972.

As 44.5% of the population now hold medical cards and doctor only visiting cards these increases should not be viewed as an expansion of the generosity of the state, but a much needed demonstration of social solidarity.

Latest figures for Medical Cards and Doctor only visiting cards obtained by the Irish Patients Association shows that since Jan 2010 to end March 2012   medical cards have increased by 280,214 people ( +19.0% ) and doctor only visiting cards by 28214 people( + 28.6%). This increase creates its own demand on an already stressed Health Care system.

The real challenge emerging from the shadows for the Government, is, how to convince the current shrinking private health insurance members, who will very likely be the major payers into the universal health insurance system to surrender their private health insurance and join the 178,000 + public patients Q for their first appointment to see a consultant which could take up to 12 months or more, and then if required join another Q for elective surgery for up to 9 months or more. ? How can you convince them to change from a situation where their call is currently answered “How can I help you, what time is convenient?  Compared to one health care office we called yesterday that has a pre-recorded message “Calls are answered between 09:30 and 1pm  …due to pressure of work” it then disconnects and doesn’t even take a message!