Minister Harris’s announcement today of the decision to extend the medical card to all children in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance is very good news for family carers of children with disabilities. Family Carers Ireland recognises that this will bring another 10,000 children into the net, which we believe will significantly relieve financial pressure on families.
“We would however ask the Minister to consider extending the scope of the medical card to include essential therapies for these children, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy” said Catherine Cox, head of Communications, Family Carers Ireland. “We know there are children with disabilities on waiting lists for these vital supports for 2 years and longer By denying children these therapies at an early stage, we are denying them the opportunity to reach their full potential, and most likely this will end up costing the state far more in the long term. While we are aware that a shortage of therapists in the public sector has compounded this problem, if families were allowed to access these therapies from within the private sector under the National Treatment Purchase Fund, using their medical card, the situation could be vastly improved.
“We would urge the Minister to consider this extension, which we believe would have a very significant and positive impact on family carers caring for children with disabilities and their loved ones”.