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Hospital Procedures

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 4 November 2020

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Questions (145)

Colm Burke


145. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Health the procedures in place for haemochromatosis patients that cannot access their essential venesection treatments in hospitals in view of the fact that many patients have had their venesection treatments cancelled or postponed indefinitely; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34109/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The treatment for the management of Hereditary Haemochromatosis is therapeutic phlebotomy (i.e. having your blood taken). It is agreed that such services should be provided at the lowest level of complexity that is clinically and operationally feasible. In time it is envisaged that the majority of this work will be done in a primary care setting.

Hereditary haemochromatosis patients can attend their GP. Under the 2019 GP Agreement on Contract Reform and Service Development, and since the beginning of 2020, GPs are paid by the HSE to provide venesection for GMS patients, patients that hold a medical or GP visit card with haemochromatosis. This means that GMS patients with this condition can now be managed locally by their GP and no longer have to attend hospitals for therapeutic phlebotomy.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service accepts hereditary haemochromatosis patients who are eligible to donate blood at their fixed and mobile donation clinics nationwide. Patients can attend, free of charge, a maximum of four times a year with a minimum of ninety days between phlebotomies. The patient's hereditary haemochromatosis will continue to be managed by their physician, including the monitoring of ferritin levels.

As the provision of venesection treatment is hospitals is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible in relation to the cancellation of treatments.