Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (328)

Gerald Nash


328. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the programmes and resources available to his Department and the Health Service Executive to allow children with rare illnesses to access treatment in other jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49202/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I established a National Steering Group, in April 2011, to develop a patient centred, policy framework for the prevention, detection and treatment of rare diseases based on the principles of high quality care and equity. The policy, which will operate over a 5 year period, will take account of the EU Council Recommendation on Rare Diseases (2009) and define priority actions subject to resource availability. We are now well advanced in developing this work. Similar plans are being drafted by individual countries across the EU, including in the UK.

The HSE operates the Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS), for persons entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland under EU Regulation 1408/71, as per the procedures set out in EU Regulation 574/72, and in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines. Within these governing EU Regulations and the Department of Health and Children's Guidelines, the TAS provides for the cost of approved treatments in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland through the issue of form E112 (IE).

The TAS allows for an Irish based consultant to refer a patient that is normally resident in Ireland for treatment in another EU member state or Switzerland, where the treatment in question meets the following criteria:

(a) The application to refer a patient abroad has been assessed and a determination given before that patient goes abroad.

(b) Following clinical assessment, the referring consultant certifies the following:

- They recommend the patient be treated in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland;

- The treatment is medically necessary and will meet the patient's needs;

- The treatment is a proven form of medical treatment and is not experimental or test treatment;

- The treatment is in a recognised hospital or other institution and is under the control of a registered medical practitioner;

- The hospital outside the state will accept EU/EEA form E112 (IE).

All applications to the TAS are independently assessed by the HSE Health Intelligence Unit.