Patients who are diagnosed with cancer often need immediate treatment, but have to bear the cost themselves until their medical card application is approved.
Mayo Senator Rose Conway-Walsh says the medical costs of such patients should be covered from the date they apply for a medical card.
The Sinn Fein Senator raised the matter recently with Minister of State at the Department of Health Jim Daly, who said the HSE aims to process 95% of medical cards applications within 3 weeks.
However, Senator Conway-Walsh says it can often take longer, due to amount of paperwork required for a medical card.
In the meantime, she says significant costs can accrue for the patient, and the medical card should be granted retrospectively to cover such costs.