Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (269, 270)

David Stanton

Question:

269. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health if persons suffering from Ehler’s Danlos syndrome are eligible for the treatment abroad scheme; if such treatment is available in both public and private hospitals abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26299/13]

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David Stanton

Question:

270. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health the number of patients with Ehler’s Danlos syndrome who have travelled to foreign hospitals or clinics for specialist services under the treatment abroad scheme each year for the past ten years, respectively; if he will provide details of where such treatment was accessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26300/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 269 and 270 together.

The HSE operates a 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 Regulations 574/72, and in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines. Within these governing EU Regulations and the Department of Health 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). A decision is made on each application in accordance with this legislation and guidelines and on the basis of a review by clinical experts. The cost of the treatment is not a deciding factor when approving an application. The treatment must not be available within the State or not available within a time normally necessary for obtaining it.

The TAS allows for an Irish based medical consultant to refer a patient that is normally resident in Ireland for treatment, in a public hospital, in another EU/EEA 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).

and wish to confirm that applications for the Treatment Abroad Scheme are assessed on a case by case basis.

Applicants are eligible for the Scheme in general where they are referred abroad for a specified treatment that is not available in Ireland, which is a proven form of therapy, where the accepting facility abroad will accept Model Form E112 (IE). The referral must be from a Irish based consultant who is currently treating the patient in as a public patient. Patients can only be referred to the public facilities systems in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland.

The information requested by the Deputy, concerning the number of patients with Ehler’s Danlos syndrome who have travelled for treatment under the treatment abroad scheme is recorded over a six year period to date. However, in line with the HSE's policy in ensuring patient confidentiality; only data where instances of 5 cases or more are identified would be eligible for release. With this in mind, this information will not be released.