Press Release

Minister Harris gets green light for legislation to give medical cards for all children with DCA payment and reduction of the prescription charges for over 70s

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, has today secured the agreement of his Cabinet colleagues to commence the drafting of legislation to introduce two important Budget 2017 commitments:

  • Full eligibility for general practitioner and other health services to all children in respect of whom the Domiciliary Care Allowance is payable
  • A reduction in the prescription charge for over 70s by €0.50 per item/€5 per month to €2 per item and €20 maximum per month respectively from the 1st of March 2017

Welcoming the progress on medical cards for children in respect of whom a Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) payment is made, the Minister said:“The provision of a medical card to all children in respect of whom a Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) payment is made is a key health commitment in the Programme for Government. The latest figures show that this initiative will benefit approximately 9,000 very sick children who are not currently eligible for a medical card. As a result 33,000 children will be eligible for a full Medical Card. It is my intention to introduce this measure as early as possible in 2017, following the necessary legislative changes and in line with resources provided in Budget 2017 and I have asked the HSE to put all the necessary preparations in place.”

Commenting on the reduction in the prescription charge for over 70s, the Minister said:“The reduction in the prescription charge by €0.50 per item/€5 per month will benefit approximately 330,000 medical card holders over 70. This will mean that the prescription charge for over 70’s will reduce from €2.50 per item to €2 per item and the maximum monthly charge will be reduced from €25 to €20. My intention is to introduce the reduced charge from the 1st of March 2017, following the necessary legislative changes and in line with resources provided in Budget 2017.”

Note for Editors

At the Cabinet meeting today (13 December 2016), the Government agreed to the drafting of a bill to give effect to two important changes announced on Budget Day:
1. Full eligibility for general practitioner and other health services to all children in respect of whom the Domiciliary Care Allowance is payable
2. A reduction in the prescription charge for over 70s by €0.50 per item/€5 per month to €2 and €20 respectively from the 1st of March 2017
3. The Government agreed that preparations should proceed with a view to publication of the Bill in January 2017