Call-out for spinal injury cases to get medical cards
The Maldron Hotel is the venue for the Spinal Injuries Ireland meeting

Call-out for spinal injury cases to get medical cards

A SPINAL injury charity will be holding a meeting to outline the need for people with spinal cord injuries to be permanently awarded medical cards.

The meeting will be held in the Maldron Hotel in Tallaght next Tuesday, September 6, at 6.30pm

Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) made the call for Government to extend the medical card on a permanent basis to people who suffered spinal cord injuries, in their pre-Budget submission for 2023.

The meeting is part of a national roadshow that has been organised by SII to generate wider support for its pre-Budget proposal.

Tallaght residents who are living with life-altering spinal cord injuries will tell the meeting how the Government’s current approach to awarding medical cards is having a negative impact on their lives and why a change in policy is necessary.

They will also highlight how anyone who sustains an SCI and who needs a medical card is currently assessed on their means, rather than their needs, as well as the fact that the maximum period for any medical card is just three years.

Fiona Bolger, CEO of SII, said: “This is an arbitrary and inhuman approach which is delaying or denying treatment and the supply of necessary equipment to many people living with a spinal cord injury.

“It also contributes to significant stress, financial hardship, erosion of personal dignity and independence, and additional physical and mental challenges. It is inhuman and it must change.

“Our number one priority is the permanent provision of medical cards based on assessment of need.

“Our shared belief is that a spinal cord injury should be classified as a life-long condition, similar to diabetes or epilepsy.

“It is critical to recognise that anyone living with such a life-long condition is also at risk of developing secondary conditions that can be debilitating and even life-threatening.

“In many cases, people with an SCI are unable to return to their former employment. Spouses, family members or partners commonly give up their employment to provide them with home care.

“There is a huge loss of family income, and it is estimated that 25 per cent of those with an SCI live below the poverty line.”

Spinal Injuries Ireland’s Pre-Budget Submission also calls for the implementation of the National Strategy for Neuro-rehabilitative services, including a National Trauma System for Ireland.

The automatic approval of funding for home-care packages for patients with the most complex needs is also proposed.

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