Spinal cord injuries Ireland has asked the government to grant permanent health insurance cards to anyone living with a spinal cord injury.
The support service released its pre-budget request and asked the government to designate spinal cord injury (SCI) as a long-term and permanent condition.
The organization described the current system of determining eligibility for medical cards based on a person’s means rather than their needs as “inhumane” and estimates that 25 per cent of Ireland’s 2,200 people with SCI live below the poverty line.
She wants the government to scrap the maximum three-year term for a health card and has claimed the current approach is to “delay and deny” access to treatment while reducing “stress and financial hardship” for people with disabilities caused QSL.
The pre-budget proposal also wanted to emphasize that without a health card, the stresses faced by people with spinal cord injuries are “insurmountable”.
Spinal Injuries Ireland’s chief executive officer said the “top priority” was the continued provision of sickness cards on an as-needed basis.
Fiona Bolger said spinal cord injury should be considered a long-term and permanent condition, much like diabetes or epilepsy.
“It’s a life-changing condition, and anyone living with it is also at risk of developing secondary conditions that can be debilitating and even life-threatening,” she said.
“In many cases, people with SCI cannot return to their previous jobs. Spouses, family members or partners often leave their jobs to care for them at home.
“The current approach to determining whether or not someone with a spinal cord injury is eligible for a health card is arbitrary and inhumane and needs to change.
“It delays or refuses treatment and the delivery of the necessary equipment. It also contributes to significant stress, financial hardship, erosion of personal dignity and independence, and additional physical and mental challenges.”
The organization estimates that three people suffer a “devastating” spinal cord injury every week in Ireland.
Some lose the ability to walk, and depending on the degree of injury, some may also lose arm and hand function.
SCI can also lead to serious secondary health problems, including chronic pain, loss of body function, severe psychological distress, and financial problems.
In its preliminary budget request, Spinal Injuries Ireland also called for the implementation of the National Strategy for Neurorehabilitative Services, including a National Trauma System for Ireland.
Automatic approval of home care package funding for patients with the most complex needs is also proposed.
https://www.independent.ie/news/call-for-permanent-medical-cards-for-people-living-with-spinal-cord-injury-41950017.html Demand permanent medical cards for people with spinal cord injuries