Dáil Éireann - Volume 567 - 28 May, 2003
Written Answers. - Long-Term Illness Scheme.
Mr. Crowe Mr. Crowe
207. Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease are not covered by the Health Act 1970 long-term illnesses scheme; the reason such a distinction is made; and if he has plans to amend the Act so that people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease will be covered. [14956/03]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): People suffering from any of the following conditions may obtain drugs and medicines without charge for the treatment of that condition under the long-term illness scheme, LTI: mental handicap, mental illness, for people under 16 only, phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, haemophilia, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophies, parkinsonism and acute leukaemia. No conditions have been added since 1975.
There are no plans to extend the LTI to include Crohn's disease at this stage. There are a range of other schemes which provide assistance towards the cost of approved drugs and medicines for individuals with significant ongoing medical expenses.
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. 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. However, where a person's income exceeds the guidelines, a medical card may be awarded if the chief executive officer considers that the person's medical needs or other circumstances would justify this. Medical cards may also be issued to individual family members on this basis.
Non-medical card holders, and people with conditions not covered under the LTI, can use the drugs payment scheme. Under this scheme, no individual or family unit pays more than €70 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines.
Dáil Éireann 567 Written Answers. Long-Term Illness Scheme.