Written Answers. - Long Term Illness Scheme.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

266 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Health if he will include schizophrenia as a listed illness under the designated long term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Ivan Yates

Question:

268 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Health if he has any plans to include schizophrenia in the range of illnesses covered by long-term illness cards, in view of the fact that it is long-term in its nature and involves costly medication to patients and their families; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I intend to take Questions Nos. 266 and 268 together.

I am satisfied that the existing GMS and drug schemes are adequate as to ensure that persons who suffer from schizophrenia do not experience undue financial hardship due to their illness.

The new drug cost subsidisation scheme which I introduced on 1 September 1990 will ensure that all persons, who do not have a medical card or long-term illness book, and, are certified as having a long term medical condition with regular and on-going requirements for prescribed medicines, will not have to pay more that £28 per month to the pharmacist.

I do not intend therefore to extend the list of conditions covered by the long term illness scheme.