Saturday 16 December 2017

Ministers tried to get HSE to give medical cards to constituents

Two Government ministers have defended lobbying the HSE over medical cards.

Government ministers, TDs and senators made a staggering 21,000 queries, both by phone and via email, to the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to medical cards for their constituents within the last year.

The newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan, was among 10 TDs who made the most calls to the HSE enquiring about m edical cards for his constituents.

However, Mr Flanagan, who previously held the post of Minister for Children, told the Herald that he was 
simply carrying out his duty.

"I operate a busy constituency office open to the public 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Among the hundreds of weekly queries we receive about state entitlements, medical cards feature highly.

"When a constituent has a query or complaint about a HSE issue, or indeed any state service, I regard it as my public duty as a public representative to get clarity and assist the people of Laois/Offaly," he said.


Dr James Reilly, between January and June of this year and while he was Minister for Health, also made contact with the HSE a number of times.

His office phoned the executive 150 times and sent 57 emails with medical card queries.

However, similar to Mr Flanagan, a spokesman for the newly-appointed Minister for Children explained to the 
Herald that it was simply part of his public work.

"The constituency office receives a high volume of inquiries on a range of issues.

"Staff then refer those concerns to the HSE who provide information or take any appropriate action," said the spokesman.

Calls and emails also came from Taoiseach Enda Kenny's office to the HSE.

Approximately 61 calls were made and 142 emails were sent from Mr Kenny's office.

However, attempts to contact Mr Kenny's office last night were unsuccessful.


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