Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Health
Charlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail)
Question 670: To ask the Minister for Health if he will confirm if haemochromatosis is covered under the medical card schemes for medical card holders; if not, the plans he has to include it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7878/12]
Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)
Eligibility for health services in Ireland is based primarily on residency and means. There are currently two categories of eligibility for all persons ordinarily resident in Ireland i.e. full eligibility (medical card) and limited eligibility (all others). Full eligibility is determined mainly by reference to income limits, and is granted to persons who, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive, are unable to provide general practitioner, medical and surgical services to themselves and their dependents without undue hardship. There is no automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons who have haemochromatosis.
There is a provision for discretion to grant a card in cases of “undue hardship” where the income guidelines are exceeded. The HSE recently set up a clinical panel to assist in the processing of applications for discretionary medical cards where there are difficult personal circumstances. It is the Government’s intention to extend free GP services to the entire population during the course of this Government.