Tullamore lady asked to verify her husband was still alive

THE appalling example of how a Tullamore woman was left “shocked and emotional” after she was told her husband’s medical card was cancelled because he had died was highlighted by a local Town Councillor.

THE appalling example of how a Tullamore woman was left “shocked and emotional” after she was told her husband’s medical card was cancelled because he had died was highlighted by a local Town Councillor.

Sinn Fein’s Brendan Killeavy questioned why the centralised unit thought an ill Offaly man was died after his wife claimed that she was told by a local pharmacist that his card had been cancelled. And he called for the HSE’s Central Medical Card unit to be examined by the Health Minister.

Cllr Killeavy outlined how he had spoken with a woman, whose husband was ill, had gone to a local pharmacist to get medicines for her spouse. When the woman went to use his medical card, he said, the woman claimed she was advised the card was invalid despite having an expiry date of November 2014.

According to the town councillor, a call was then made to the HSE and the woman was told that the card had been stopped because the recipient was deceased.

However, Cllr Killeavy said the woman asked the HSE how they thought he was deceased and was told that a phone call had been made to say that her spouse had passed way.

“The lady was of course shocked and got very emotional. It took a further two days to have the card re-instated. It was very bad. She had to verify with doctors that her husband was still alive.”

Cllr Brendan Killeavy then proposed a motion that Tullamore Town Council write to the Minister for Health, James Reilly, TD and the Health Service Executive expressing their concern in relation to the backlog in processing medical cards and call for the service to be improved.

The Sinn Fein councillor said we are all aware of people applying for cards and waiting for the review of their cards. “It is not working. It is as simple as that.” He explained that people were willing to answer the calls but there is not a lot been done then, claming that the managers are “hiding behind” the frontline staff.

“We need to get onto the Minister on this and I am calling on the Council to write to the HSE and the Minister,” Cllr Killeavy stressed.

Cllr Sean O’Brien pointed out that the GP only cards should be included in the motion. “This is a huge problem. We have had some bizarre situations.”

Pointing out another scenario where letters were been issued with incorrect contact number, the independent councillor said there is now an eight month waiting time for the issuing or reviewing of medical cards. “I know people who have borrowed money from the Credit Union or from family,” he said as he urged people, whose cards were refused, to appeal the decision.

Cllr Sinead Dooley, Cathaoirleach of Tullamore Town Council, said that the motion should also be copied to the five Oireachtas members in Laois and Offaly.