It was Labour Party TD & Minister Kathleen Lynch, who announced details of the long awaited ‘Over 70’s Scheme’ on Friday July 31st, 2015, at a cost to the taxpayer of an estimated €18 million a year. Minister Lynch you will remember holds special responsibility for Primary Care, Social Care (Disabilities & Older People).
This ‘Over 70’s Scheme’ as it is known, provides for free GP care to all persons aged 70 years and over; who do not have a Medical Card or GP Visit card, regardless of income and who ordinarily resident in the Irish State.
On Monday last a medical card carrying lady aged in her 74th year who was a former Cancer sufferer, attended her local physician here in Thurles. On the previous advice of her doctor she was attending simply to have her annual blood test.
Imagine her surprise, when leaving, to be confronted with an unexpected bill of €20.00 to cover the costs associated with her blood test. Imagine then being asked that since it was Monday, no blood samples would be collected locally, and could she deliver the blood sample personally to the local Health Centre herself.
From checks made by us, we discover that in fact ‘Blood Tests’ are not free under the 70’s and over supposedly free scheme’.
God be with the days back in the Autumn of 2008 when, following a Fianna Fáil led Government Budget, Jackie Healy-Rae (RIP) and Local Deputy Michael Lowry, both then supporting Fianna Fáil in Government as Independent TD’s, threatened to overthrow the same government, when F.F. attempted to introduce ‘Means Testing’ for Old Age Pensioners, thus cancelling their right to hold a Medical Card.