Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (709, 737, 751)

Seán Haughey

Question:

709. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health if he will designate classical homocystinuria as a long-term illness given that a similar condition known as phenylketonuria is classified as such; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6386/21]

View answer

Richard Bruton

Question:

737. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health if he will consider extending long-term illness cover to HCU, that is, homocystinuria. [6469/21]

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Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

751. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health if classical homocystinuria can be added to the list of conditions covered by the long-term illness scheme in view of the fact of its similarity to phenylketonuria a disease already on the list. [6550/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 709, 737 and 751 together.

The Long Term Illness Scheme was established under Section 59(3) of the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The conditions covered by the LTI are: 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. Under the scheme, patients receive drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of their illness, free of charge.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the scheme at this time. However, a review of the current eligibility framework, including the basis for existing hospital and medication charges, will be carried out under commitments given in the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy.

For people who are not eligible for the LTI Scheme, there are other arrangements which protect them from excessive medicine costs.

Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €114 a month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals with ongoing expenditure on medicines.

People who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the HSE can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family.

People 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.