Medical cards for children with cancer
THE HSE is set to issue medical cards to every child who is diagnosed with cancer from today.
The Government came under fire last year over discretionary medical cards for people with serious or chronic illnesses.
There was a backlash when cases emerged of parents with seriously ill children - including some with cancer - being refused the cards.
Last night Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch welcomed the decision by the HSE to proceed with the issuing of medical cards for such children.
"This is a key recommendation of the Clinical Advisory Group set up to look at medical card eligibility," she said.
"Medical cards will be issued when a diagnosis of cancer is made for a period of five years.
"Any child under the age of 18 who has had a diagnosis in the past five years will also be awarded a medical card for five years."
Ms Lynch added that the decision is "in line with the more compassionate approach that we have adopted towards awarding discretionary cards".
"I support it and look forward to the HSE implementing it," she said.
The system of issuing cards was reviewed following public anger last year.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar announced in April that there were plans to expand the discretionary cards for seriously ill children. He said the number of discretionary medical card holders had increased from 50,000 to 80,000 since last summer.