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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 4 Dec 2002

Vol. 558 No. 5

Written Answers. - Medical Services.

Cecilia Keaveney


302 Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for Health and Children his views on the health care facts and figures 2002-03 which reiterate the statistics from the Central Statistics Office household budget survey 1999-2000 which point to the low weekly expenditure on medicines versus other household expenditure, while pointing out that many deaths in the under 65 year old age bracket are preventable. [25090/02]

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. Eligibility for a medical card is solely a matter for the chief executive officer of the relevant health board to decide. In determining eligibility, the chief executive officer has regard to the applicant's financial circumstances. Health boards use income guidelines to assist in determining eligibility. Where a person's income exceeds the guidelines a medical card may be awarded if the chief executive officer considers that their medical needs or other circumstances would justify this. Medical cards may also be issued to individual family members on this basis.

Non-medical cardholders and people with conditions not covered under the long-term illness scheme can use the drugs payment scheme. Under this scheme no individual or family unit pays more than €65 per calendar month, rising to €70 per month from 1 January 2003, towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines.

In addition, marginal tax relief can be claimed for expenditure on medicines under the drugs payment scheme in excess of a specified amount in any tax year.

Question No. 303 answered with Question No. 297.