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Healthcare Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 27 July 2021

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Questions (2778)

Thomas Gould


2778. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health if an Irish person who has suffered a stroke in the United States of America and returns home in need of continued support, for example, occupational therapy, physical therapy and possibly permanent residential facility is entitled to same. [39109/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Irish Public Health System provides for two categories of eligibility for persons ordinarily resident in the country, i.e. full eligibility (medical cards) and limited eligibility. In order to be deemed as "ordinarily resident" an individual must be a resident in Ireland for at least 12 months or can provide proof that they intend to live here for at least 12 months. Full eligibility is determined primarily by reference to income limits and determination of an individual's eligibility status is the responsibility of the HSE.

Individuals with full eligibility can access a range of services including general practitioner services, prescribed drugs and medicines, all public hospital in-patient services including consultant services, all public hospital out-patient services including consultant services, home nursing, dental, ophthalmic, and aural services and appliances, a termination of pregnancy service and a maternity and infant care service. Individuals with limited eligibility are eligible for in-patient and outpatient public hospital services including consultant services, subject to certain charges. Other services such as allied healthcare professional services may also be made available to persons with limited eligibility.

The HSE is responsible for the provision of therapy services at an operational level with access to these services determined by an individuals assessed clinical need. It should however be acknowledged that access to some therapies in some localities may be subject to capacity constraints, although every effort is being made to address these and to ensure that services are available to those that need them.

Residential placements for people with a disability are provided on the basis of need and within available resources. Placements are considered following detailed clinical assessments by HSE services. The HSE engages with families to ensure that those with the greatest need are prioritised. Access to places for those with the most complex needs are allocated on a priority basis and appropriate availability of service.

In relation to residential care should an individual require it, the HSE administers the Nursing Home Support Scheme (NHSS), commonly referred to as Fair Deal, which is a system of financial support for people who require long term residential care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term residential care is accessible and affordable for everyone, and that people are cared for in the most appropriate settings. Information relating to this Scheme can be found on the HSE's website.