There are working people on the minimum wage in this region that cannot afford to pay for their prescription tablets and so go without medication for a number of days in any month.

That’s according to the Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District, Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne. The councillor is a member of the HSE West forum and he recently raised the need for the income level for qualification for a medical card to be raised.

 His motion was supported by the forum, but the Minister for Health Simon Harris has responded saying that no changes are planned, but he explained that the number of GP only cards has increased.

Cathaoirleach Kilcoyne says he is angered by the response. He says a review of medical card qualification is ongoing for months now, and in his experience, fewer than ever people are qualifying for it.

He told Midwest News that a single person on the minimum wage, working 20 hours a week is above the income limit required to qualify for a medical card at present.

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