From top: Irish medical cards: John Wall.
Early last month, Father-of-three John Wall, who who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, revealed that his emergency medical card was reviewed six months after it was issued, and then revoked two months after that.
A lot has happened since.
John Wall writes:
‘It seems like a lifetime ago now, but it’s just over 8 weeks since I put out that infamous tweet about my medical card or to be precise, the fact that I did not have one as a result of The HSE’s decision to take it back.
I’m sure if they could turn back time, I would be top of their list to appease.
Their decision to repeatedly ignore one simple question has backfired dramatically.
Why was my medical card, that was granted as a result of a terminal diagnosis, subsequently cancelled based on a means test, which according to The Department of Health’s own website never applied?”
So what’s happened since….. It’s been a busy spell with lots of welcome publicity on the issue.
Remember, I’m speaking out on behalf of the thousands that are unable, that are stuck in a system their unable to navigate and are screaming for help without being heard.
Until I see decisions regarding medical cards being taken based on the patients needs rather than the size of their wallet, I will continue to shout.
I’ve raised several important issues with The Ombudsman’s Office, mostly pertaining to the administration of The Medical Card Scheme, all of which have been upheld and are currently being investigated.
In fact as a result of these complaints, a review is also underway within The HSE as to how the scheme is governed.
Of note also is the fact that The Ombudsman published a report in January 2018 in relation to The Treatment Abroad Scheme.
My experience of attempting to even submit an application for life prolonging treatment abroad was thwarted by my consultant qand as a consequence, I was unable to use the scheme.
How many patients are treated in a similar fashion, but unlike myself do not have private cover to fall back on and as a result do not receive the life prolonging surgery that I was fortunate to be able to have?
Running alongside all of the above is my forthcoming meeting with Minister Simon Harris which takes place at the end of this month.
This meeting is crucial as it will I hope, lead to a solution that will ensure a more transparent and equitable medical card system for all.
I’m not advocating medical cards for all but I am seeking fairness.
I have encountered so many people and heard of so many stories, where citizens of this state are being abandoned simply because of a box that cannot be ticked by a departmental official with scant regard for the person involved.
On a positive note, this whole debacle has allowed be to utilise the traction to create awareness surrounding men’s health, both physical and mental.
I’ve found that men in particular are reticent to discuss their health, most especially when it pertains to certain parts of their anatomy that ordinarily we brag about!
Prostate Cancer has brought about changes that are life changing and for me that includes erectile dysfunction and slight incontinence also.
I’m not ashamed of who I am nor what I’ve got, because inside I’m still the same person.
That’s one thing my illness will never take away.
I’ll finish by reminding you all to take nothing for granted, enjoy the simple things that life has to offer and never shy away from telling those close to you that you love them.
Previously: John Wall on Broadsheet