Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition and the symptoms include severe pain, fatigue and stiffness among many others. The exact prevalence of fibromyalgia in Ireland is not known but is estimated at 2% of the population.
Fibromyalgia can be a difficult condition to diagnose because there is no specific test and the symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions. There is currently no cure for this condition as the cause is unknown and the treatment requires interventions from various medical specialists for management of symptoms as they arise.
Fibromyalgia is not classified as a disability and there are currently no plans for its reclassification. There are no plans at present to add this condition to the list of conditions currently listed under the Long-Term illness scheme.
It is important to note that to help the sufferers of this condition with the cost of the treatment, any patient is eligible to apply to the Drugs Payment Scheme or to apply for a Medical Card.
Under the Drug Payment Scheme, no individual or family pays more than €124 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.
General medical services are provided by GPs. If the patients clinical condition warrants a referral to a Consultant then their GP will organise that for them.