The Health Service Executive has said it will take at least three weeks before some discretionary medical card holders will hear from it about cards being restored to them.

Yesterday, the Government decided to return the cards to people on a temporary basis until July next year.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, HSE National Director of Primary Care John Hennessy said people would have to receive notification that their card was being restored before they could benefit from it.

Work will begin today on processing records for the approximately 15,000 people who will benefit from the Government decision to return discretionary medical cards to those who lost them following a review.

Among those who will have their cards returned are people with a life-long medical condition, acute illness or disability who were granted a card on a discretionary basis and who lost their card following a review since July 2011.

Mr Hennessy said people can contact the HSE on the low call number 1890-25-29-19.