Thursday, 20 June 2013

Questions (238)

Bernard Durkan


238. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the level of support and local health services available to persons who suffer with diabetes in County Kildare; if diabetes is considered a long-term illness in terms of the administration of medical cards; if in the context of the integrated care services a diabetes specialist nurse has been appointed to the Kildare area; if not, the length of time it will take to have a nurse appointed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29763/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the provisions of the Health Act 1970, eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means and medical cards are not awarded to any particular group of patients on the basis of a specific medical condition. However, the HSE has discretion to grant a medical card in certain circumstances. Medical card applicants who are unsuccessful following the means assessment, but who indicate that they suffer from a medical condition, are then referred to the Medical Officer for consideration on a medical discretionary basis. The conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme include Diabetes Insipidus and Diabetes Mellitus. Persons suffering from a prescribed condition, who are not already medical card holders, can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition under the Long Term Illness Scheme. In relation to the issue raised by the Deputy about the appointment of a Diabetes Nurse Specialist in a specific area, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.