Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (733)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

733. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if consideration will be given to the issue of a long-term illness card or medical card in lieu thereof in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22255/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Long Term Illness (LTI) Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act, 1970 (as amended). Regulations were made in 1971, 1973 and 1975 specifying the conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme. The conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme are as follows: Acute Leukaemia; Mental handicap; Cerebral Palsy; Mental Illness (in a person under 16); Cystic Fibrosis; Multiple Sclerosis; Diabetes Insipidus; Muscular Dystrophies; Diabetes Mellitus; Parkinsonism; Epilepsy; Phenylketonuria; Haemophilia; Spina Bifida; Hydrocephalus; and conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide. There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness scheme.

Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €144 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines.

Under the provisions of the Health Acts, medical cards are provided to persons who are, in the opinion of the HSE, unable without undue hardship to arrange GP services for themselves and their dependants. In the assessment process, the HSE can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family.

Under the legislation, there is no entitlement to a medical card based on having a particular disease or illness. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of GP consultations.

The HSE is responsible for the administration of the primary care schemes, therefore, I have asked the HSE to investigate the circumstances surrounding this case and respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.