Posts Tagged ‘medical cards’


Dental Scheme Cutback – Older People MUST not be made to suffer

June 11, 2010

“The latest circular from the HSE limiting the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) will have a dramatic impact on Older People”, Ms Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament said today. “As well as the detrimental health and welfare aspects, it could result in costs to pensioners of between €230 and €400 per year according to figures from the Irish Dental Association.”

The DTSS provides medical card holders with basic dental treatment and ensures that medical card holders receive pain relief, preventative treatment, denture services and emergency care. Budget 2010 limited DTSS expenditure to €63million at a time of rising demand. The HSE’s April circular could mean that 1.6 million medical card holders may be denied routine treatments such as fillings and extractions.

The Department of Health’s own figures show that people over 65 are by far the biggest users of the DTSS and will therefore be the hardest hit by this latest cutback. Almost €12 million (25.5%) of total payments for treatments was for those aged 65 or over; even though only 14% of this age group used the DTSS in 2003 (the latest figures publicly available).

“The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament welcomes the trend in the general population of better and increased teeth retention for Older People, but they are still the age cohort with the most missing teeth and therefore require the most dentures and denture repairs”, said Ms. Hayes. “This cutback again hits the most vulnerable. Older People are entitled to receive dental treatment which ensures they can live free from oral pain, with the ability to eat good food and speak and even sing a song or two. Cuts in this basic service just do not make financial sense as regular dental treatment is most important in older age and can be a further useful monitoring tool in the healthy living which keeps all older people healthy and active. Delayed early treatment may require more expensive treatment later.”

Taking the average of €230 and €400 it appears that older people will have to provide an extra €330 per year for dental treatment to add to the additional costs of the carbon tax, the introduction of prescription charges and a decrease or abolition in waivers for waste charges as well as VAT on local authority charges to name but a few.

The Minister must act now to stop the slow drip of the removal of the universal benefits of the medical card to Older People. Many of today’s pensioners endured poor conditions in their youth with poor food and little or no dental care. In older age they must not be deprived again.


Emergency Motions pass at APM

March 31, 2010

Two emergency Motions were passed at the Annual Parliament Meeting of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament today.

The first motion called on the Government to address without delay the current dispute in the public services due to the effect it was having on Older People in relation to pensions and other social and medical services. This motion was proposed by the Finglas Division of the ISCP and got full support from the delegates.

President Mary McAleese and Senior Citizens ParliamentAnother motion was also passed demanding that medical card renewals for Older People be immediately extended for a period of two years as the HSE figures show that the vast majority of Older People qualify. This motion was passed unanimously and in the context of the backlog – running into thousands – in renewing medical cards. It was also proposed that all new medical cards should be for a three year period rather than the current two years.

Uachtarán na hÉireann, Mary McAleese thanked the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament for its work at the Annual Parliament Meeting on Friday. Speaking about the Parliament, President McAleese said “it only exists because you care about the quality of life of our senior citizens and care enough to get involved, get organised and insist on being heard … The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is a stellar example of older people working for older people and for Irish society, infusing it with their vitality, vision and distilled wisdom.”


Proposed Medical Card Charges Will Hit The Most Vulnerable!

November 22, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is concerned that the proposed prescription charge will place an increased financial burden on Older People.

Responding to the comments made by Minister for Health Mary Harney, Maíréad Hayes CEO of the Parliament has said that the proposed 50 cent charge per prescribed item could result in a hefty monthly charge for some Older People.

The Minister’s response is not a remedy for the over-prescribing of drugs that can only be resolved by those responsible for writing prescriptions.

We know that one in six medical card holders are prescribed 10 or more drugs, should this charge be introduced many Older People could face an additional charge of €5 or more per month.

Combined with the fact that Older People’s incomes have already been reduced by 2% this year due to the withdrawal of the Christmas Bonus, the Parliament fears that Older People will find it hard to meet these charges, or may be forced to stop taking their medication.

The Parliament would point out that there is a cumulative impact from a number of recent government decisions all of which are increasing the risk of poverty amongst Older People in Ireland.


Limerick European and Local Election Meeting – 19 May 2009

June 1, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s Limerick meeting with European and Local Election candidates took place on 19 May 2009 in the Best Western Pery’s Hotel. Candidates from the South Euro Constituency and Limerick local electoral areas were invited.
The meeting was attended by three European Candidates, Kathy Sinnott MEP (Independent), Senator Dan Boyle (Green Party), and Dr. Alexander Stafford (Independent).

The day began with a presentation on Elder Abuse by Julie Linwood, Senior Case Worker (Elder Abuse) in with the HSE in Limerick. The presentation covered all aspects of Elder Abuse using recent research on the topic and explained Elder Abuse and what it means to the average older person. This presentation focused on several headings including;

  • What is Elder Abuse?
  • Incidence?
  • Types of Elder Abuse?
  • How to recognise if Abuse could be occurring?
  • How might you learn about Abuse?
  • Where can you advise people to turn to?
  • Barriers to helping?

Julie’s presentation was followed by a very interesting Q&A session with many contributions from those present.

Kathy Sinnott MEP spoke about the demographics pointing to the increasing number of older people in Europe, with Ireland as the exception. She also spoke about healthy aging as well as the wisdom & experience of age. She emphasised her work for carers at a European level.

Senator Dan Boyle spoke about how Ireland had changed as a society, the growth of individualism & his support for community & advocacy groups.

Dr. Alexander Stafford spoke about universal health access, hospital waiting lists and the importance of pro bono & community work.

Questions to the candidates focussed on universal health care, the withdrawal of the medical card, proper pension provision and protection for private pensions.
The meeting was later joined by 5 local candidates, Derek Mulcahy (Labour), Cathal McCarthy (Independent), Tom Shortt (Labour), Elena Secas (Labour) and James Nix (Green Party).

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly. Topics covered included: medical cards, a Senior Citizens Forum, poor public transport, intergenerational living, mental health, the role of community centres & groups as well as anti-social behaviour.

The meeting was chaired by Máiréad Hayes, the Parliament’s CEO. It was attended by representatives from local Probus and Active Retirement groups as well as Lauren Quinn Taylor, the ISCP Policy officer.
Apologies were received from Colm Burke MEP, Brian Crowley MEP, Seán Kelly, Ned O’Keeffe TD, Senator Alan Kelly and Cllr. Toiréasa Ferris.


Over 70 medical card crisis: Call to action

October 18, 2008

TO: Each Organisation affiliated to the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament

Dear Colleague,

This is a very difficult time for Older People in Ireland. Since Budget Day the issue of the withdrawal of the Medical Card for Older People has dominated the airwaves and, indeed, the Parliament has been inundated with ‘phone calls and emails from Older People and their families on the matter. We are actively campaigning to seek the withdrawal by Government of this draconian measure which will have such an adverse affect on the lives of Older People and their families.

Each and every one of your organisations can play a vital role in seeking to retain the Medical Card for Older People by lobbying all your local representatives especially those from the Government Parties i.e. Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Progressive Democrats and the Independents who support the government. Make your opposition known to the opposition as well. Ask all of them to work to have the decision reversed by the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Health and Children and the Government.

The Older People of Ireland did not create the situation whereby the delivery of Medical Card services for Older People costs four times more at €640.00 per person. Older People must be relieved of the fear and stress caused by this proposal. The facts and figures which have emerged are truly staggering. Older People for a long time have been classed as high rollers and people on vast incomes who were in possession of a Medical Card. We have seen that this has not been the case and that the majority of Older People are on very low incomes as shown by the fact that ⅔ of them already had a Medical Card before they reached age 70.

You, the members, are critical to the success of this campaign. You must go to your local representatives and ask them to have this measure withdrawn. This issue is so vital for Older People. We must not be seen as ‘easy targets’.

In the period since the over 70s Medical Card has been in place there was ample time to negotiate proper arrangements with regard to its delivery. It seems strange that rather than tackling that issue the Government is now tackling the recipients most of whom are ringing our offices in fear and dread.

Get out there! Get working! Get talking to your local politicians and demand that this be withdrawn.

Yours sincerely,

Máiréad Hayes
Chief Executive Officer