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1st October 2018 | Health, Press Releases

Department of Social Protection Urgently Needs to Solve Illness Benefit Delays

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The Green Party has today called on the Department of Social Protection to urgently address delays of up to five weeks in illness benefit payments to patients.

Party health spokesperson Dr Séamus McMenamin: “The withholding of payments to patients when they are unwell is shocking and unwarranted, and should be immediately addressed.”

In a letter to general practitioners on 21st September, Kathleen Stack, Assistant Secretary in the Department, acknowledged the lack of advance notice to GPs after a poster arrived on a Friday (20th July 2018) with notice that the changes were to begin on the following Monday.

Dr McMenamin added: “It is not clear why the Department thought it necessary to change to a new paper-based form in advance of the move to electronic certification expected early next year, mainly because they haven’t talked to family doctors. There is a marked change in practice and increased workload which needs to be negotiated with GP representative organisations. Patients should not be disadvantaged in the interim.”