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Alert over medical card withdrawal

Doctors have expressed fresh concern about the pace of withdrawal of medical cards from the most needy.

Government should reassess its priorities, the Irish Medical Organisation said.

Around 150 GPs from around the country met to discuss the issue this weekend.

Dr Ray Walley, a member of the IMO, said the health minister was racing ahead with proposals to extend free GP visit cards to all children under the age of six in the coming months and to extend these cards to all citizens by 2016.

"I believe it cannot be justified to extend these cards so widely while at the same time withdrawing medical cards from patients who are utterly dependent on them," he said.

"This is a question of priorities and in health, we have to focus scarce resources on those who need our help most."

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