Pensioners targeted over medical cards

Rumours earlier the week that scores of pensioners in Donegal in general and the Inishowen area in particular were being targeted by the HSE in regard to the withdrawal of medical cards were confirmed yesterday by two local politicians, Labour’s Senator Jimmy Harte and Sinn Fein councillor, Jack Murray.

Rumours earlier the week that scores of pensioners in Donegal in general and the Inishowen area in particular were being targeted by the HSE in regard to the withdrawal of medical cards were confirmed yesterday by two local politicians, Labour’s Senator Jimmy Harte and Sinn Fein councillor, Jack Murray.

Jack Murray said he has been contacted by scores of pensioners in the peninsula who were concerned, angry and stressed after receiving letters from the HSE questioning their eligibility for medical cards.

“In the past few days I have been contacted by numerous pensioners from across Inishowen who are concerned after receiving letters which question their eligibility for a medical card.They are among the 8,000 people over 70 years of age who have been sent these letters.The letters, which must be returned within two weeks, demand a huge quantity of information, much of which is not always on hand.”

Senator Jimmy Harte called on the Minister for Health to intervene to explain why the letters were sent out now. He said : “I have been meeting with Cllr Martin Farren about the situation in Inishowen and he has briefed me on it. I have asked to have a parliamentary question answered by the Minister next week to explain why these letters were sent out, in my view erroneously, to scare many pensioners whose cards are not due to be reviewed until 2015.

“It’s unacceptable that this happened and I expect an honest explanation and a confirmation that this should not re-occur. Those people who received these letters should now again be contacted by the HSE and/or a statement of clarification be issued promptly.”