Written Answers. - Long Term Illness Scheme.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

142 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Health the plans, if any, he has to have asthma included in the long term illness scheme as promised by his predecessor. [552/94]

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

223 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Health if he intends to have asthma included in the long term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [385/94]

I propose taking Questions Nos. 142 and 223 together.

The long term illness scheme entitles persons who suffer from certain specified illnesses to free drugs and medicines which are prescribed in respect of the particular illnesses and there are no plans to extend the number of illnesses covered by the scheme.

The long term illness scheme, however, is only one of a number of schemes in operation which provide assistance towards the cost of prescribed drugs and medicines for persons with ongoing medical conditions.

Where an individual or a family is subjected to a significant level of ongoing expenditure on medical expenses (general practitioner fees, prescribed drugs etc.) due to a long term medical condition these expenses may be reckoned in determining eligibility for a medical card. In some cases a medical card may issue to a family member on a personal basis. Eligibility for a medical card is solely a matter for the chief executive officer of the relevant health board to decide.