Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (947)

Joe McHugh

Question:

947. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health the number of patients with adult congenital heart disease that have been referred abroad under the treatment abroad scheme in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23335/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive (HSE) operates a Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS), for persons entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland under EU Regulation 883/04, as per the procedures set out in EU Regulation 987/09, and in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines. Subject to the EU Regulations and 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) where the treatment is:

- Among the benefits provided for by Irish legislation,

- Not available in Ireland,

- Not available within the time normally necessary for obtaining it in Ireland, taking account of the patient's current state of health and the probable course of the disease.

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 HSE Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS) was centralised into a single office in 2012. Prior to this it was administered at various local offices. Comprehensive figures for the TAS prior to the centralisation of the Scheme are not available.

To comply with the HSE’s guidance on patient confidentiality and data protection, the release of statistical information is based on a volume of cases of five or greater. I regret that I am informed by the HSE that, based on volume of cases, the number of such cases is not great enough to ensure compliance with their guidance on patient confidentiality and data protection and therefore, they are not in a position to release this information.