Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Ceisteanna (202, 203, 225)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

202. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health if additional funding to help subsidise IVF treatment for couples will be provided in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40585/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

203. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health the reason promised funding to help subsidise IVF treatment has not been delivered to date in 2019; his plans to provide enhanced care and aid to persons seeking the treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40586/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

225. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the status of the €1 million special fund announced for in-vitro fertilisation treatment for couples unable to conceive; when the fund will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40657/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 202, 203 and 225 together.

In parallel with the ongoing drafting of assisted human reproduction (AHR) legislation, officials in my Department, in conjunction with the HSE, have been developing a model of care for infertility, which incorporates a public funding element. This work has also included examining proposals for the allocation of the relevant €1 million.

Accordingly, options in relation to the parameters of any potential public funding model, including what access and eligibility criteria may be included, are still under consideration, and I expect to be in a position to make an announcement in the coming weeks.

It should be noted that while AHR treatment is not currently funded by the Irish Public Health Service, a defined list of fertility medicines needed for fertility treatment is covered under the High Tech Arrangements administered by the HSE. Medicines covered by the High Tech Arrangements must be prescribed by a consultant/specialist and authorised for supply to the client’s nominated community pharmacy by the High Tech Hub managed by the Primary Care Reimbursement Service. The cost of the medicines is then covered, as appropriate, under the client’s eligibility, i.e., Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme.

I understand that the impact on the total cost of AHR treatment for individuals who avail of these schemes is not insignificant.

In addition, there is other support available in that patients who access IVF treatment privately may claim tax relief on the costs involved under the tax relief for medical expenses scheme.

Overall, the development of a model of care will help to ensure the provision of safe, effective and accessible infertility services at all levels of the public health system as part of the full range of services available in obstetrics and gynaecology.