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Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers. - Old Age Pension Deductions.

Thursday, 29 September 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 3

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54.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne asked the Minister for Health if he will recommend to health authorities that old age pensioners should not suffer deduction in their pensions in respect of periods spent in hospital.

Minister for Health (Mr. S. Flanagan): Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan Non-contributory old age pensioners are, in general, members of the lower income group and, as such, are entitled to hospital services free of charge. The circumstances of some contributory old age pensioners may be such that they would be regarded as being in the middle income group and liable for a hospital charge which would not normally exceed 10/- a day.

In county homes, and in some hospitals, old age pensioners may be in receipt of shelter and maintenance rather than medical treatment. In such cases the pensioner may be required to contribute towards the cost of his maintenance. The procedure is that the health authority may require the pensioner to contribute, out of so much of his income as exceeds £1 a week, such sum as the authority considers appropriate towards the cost of his maintenance. In fixing the amount of the deduction the health authority takes into consideration any standing commitments payable by the pensioner [440] such as rent, rates, hire purchase payments or insurance premiums.

I consider that these arrangements are reasonable and that there is not a case for changing them. If, however, the Deputy considers that a health authority has treated a particular case in an unreasonable manner, I shall be glad to look into it if he lets me have the details.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay Would it not be reasonable to assume—I am not sure of this—that an old pensioner who gets the same treatment as an ordinary patient under the health scheme should not be subject to any more deduction than is normally allowed, that is, 10/- a day?

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan In fact, most old age pensioners who are in hospital as distinct from a county home are in the lower income group and would therefore have free treatment.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Is the Minister aware that his predecessor gave it as his view that all old age pensioners, whether contributory or non-contributory, should receive a medical card?

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan A very small proportion of old age pensioners would pay anything in hospital as distinct from a county home. As I said, if the Deputy or any Deputy feels that a particular patient is being unfairly treated in regard to means, I shall be glad to look into it.


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