This week both GPs and Pharmacists told the Donegal News that the situation has been worsening since the processing of medical cards was centralised in Dublin last year. And they have now called on the Department of Health to urgently address the situation which is leaving vulnerable people struggling to get medication or visit their GP.
Lifford-based GP, Dr Paul Armstrong said: “The delay in the processing of medical cards is having a big impact on patients. When we had the local office here in Ballybofey we had a very good relationship with them. They were very facilitating if people found themselves in genuine difficulties.
“Now, with the centralisation of all medical card applications to Finglas, the situation has changed completely. We have noticed that the backlog has really been coming to a head over the past two or three months, but it is getting worse and worse. I appreciate that they are overworked but it becoming harder and harder for people to get their medical cards.”
Dr Armstrong explained that the situation left many people who are awaiting receipt of the medical card reluctant to visit the doctor.
He added: “The fact of the matter is that many people need these medical cards because they just cannot afford to pay for a doctors visit.