Written answers

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Department of Health

Disability Definitions

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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173. To ask the Minister for Health the status of plans to recognise the condition fibromyalgia as a disability; if his attention has been drawn to the distress and suffering caused as a result of the condition; the reason it has not received this recognition to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49588/19]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Fibromyalgia is a syndrome associated with wide-spread pain and fatigue. It is labelled a syndrome as fibromyalgia is a collection of signs, symptoms and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause. Fibromyalgia is not classified as a disability and there are currently no plans for the reclassification of fibromyalgia. HSE Disability Services provide personal and social supports based on the needs of the individual, rather than the provision of services based on a specific diagnosis or condition.

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 course of action.

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