Children's charity The Jack & Jill Foundation has issued an urgent appeal to the Taoiseach to intervene in the controversy over Ireland's "broken" medical card system.
The charity's CEO, Jonathan Irwin called on Enda Kenny to protect children who are palliative and are going home to die by giving them their medical card automatically
Parents of healthy children under 5 years old do not want a free GP card at the expense of medical cards for children who are dying, said Mr Irwin.
He is seeking a guarantee that children who are palliative are treated as a special group and given their medical card automatically.
“The parents of healthy children under 5 years old do not want this free GP card at the expense of medical cards for children who are dying, or children with severe disabilities whose medical cards are delayed or refused. That’s inhuman and nobody wants that.
“Medical cards for a palliative (dying) child should not be up for review and should not be issued on a temporary basis, but rather given to the family automatically and followed up by a range of supports to help parents to care for their child at home.
"Today we have a thoughtless, cold system where the parents of dying babies have to queue up and register their child’s birth at an office outside of the hospital, before the child’s PPS number is issued, enabling the family to apply for all the supports that child needs to go home and to be cared for at home, where they belong," he commented.
“This medical card debate is going around in circles post budget and I am calling on the Taoiseach to order a review of the HSE’s broken medical card system, before any Free GP cards for under 5s are initiated. He must insist that children who are palliative are treated as a special group and are given every support they need and deserve as an Irish citizen to die with dignity at home, with their family.
“This Government must do right thing on behalf of these sick children and their parents. Do what the UN Convention on the Rights of Children recommends in relation to sick children and their entitlement to medical cards. Fix this broken system so that Ireland’s children in most need are granted their medical card in their own right. If you can’t do that immediately, fast track their applications in the meantime. What we need now is courage and integrity from the people who can fix this broken system.”
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