Deputy Michael Lowry has expressed his outrage that those with a serious illness in North Tipperary are waiting four months for assessment for a long term illness card, while applications in other districts are being processed within a one-week period.
A Parliamentary Question submitted by the Independent TD for Tipperary, and answered by the HSE, has shown huge discrepancies in waiting times for processing these cards throughout the country.
Deputy Lowry explained: “The long term illness scheme allows those with certain serious medical conditions to avail of drugs, medicines, medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of their condition free of charge. It is a vital support to those battling long term and often life limiting conditions.”
He said that the PQ submitted showed that the North Tipperary and Limerick office was swamped with applications and subsequently had one of the slowest processing times in the country, with only Cork having a longer waiting period of six months. South Tipperary applications are processed within two weeks.”
“The Mid West office must be brought in line with the norm as a matter of priority. It is grossly unfair that those with a serious illness in North Tipperary are being disadvantaged and left in hardship and distress due to delays in the processing of applications while neighbours across a border can have a card in a matter of days,” said Deputy Lowry.
He said it was “glaringly obvious” that additional staff needed be taken on to tackle the backlog of cases in place in the Mid West.
“Having just one individual working on applications from Limerick and North Tipperary is simply not adequate for the volume of cases and queries coming to the office. It is totally unrealistic and unfair to expect to expect one individual to cope with this volume of work,” he said.