Wednesday, 2 March 2022
Department of Health
Medical Aids and Appliances
194. To ask the Minister for Health if he will include supplementary allowance payments to persons who are amputees who work and have medical cards granted on a discretionary basis to assist in the purchase of prosthetic limbs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11897/22]
The HSE provides a wide range of medical and surgical aids and appliances, including prosthetics, free of charge to eligible persons following assessment by a relevant health professional. These are provided through community services known as Community Funded Schemes and play a key role in assisting and supporting people to maintain everyday functioning, and to remain living in their homes and local community.
Applications within Community Health Organisations (CHOs) are assessed by the local Resource Allocation Group and a determination is made regarding approval based on clinical priority and the funding available. At times, due to the demand for resources exceeding the available capacity, waiting lists may apply for some categories of items but CHOs undertake a range of initiatives to ensure optimum use of resources.
Amputees, whose amputation arose from either a traumatic or elective event, usually have their primary prosthesis fitted at the hospital where the surgery was undertaken. Subsequent prostheses are provided to eligible clients through the Community Funded Schemes. Rehabilitation services are provided by the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) primarily at their site in Dun Laoghaire and augmented by a number of satellite clinics that they operate throughout the country. There are also a number of smaller services operated at regional level that provide assessment and fitting clinics along with prostheses at a local level. Counselling services for amputees are available through the POLAR service provided by the NRH and through the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
A HSE Primary Care led National Service Improvement Programme has the aim of improving the equity of access, value for money, and functional processes of the Community Funded Schemes through the establishment of national guidelines for the provision of medical and surgical aids and appliances. While this work was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as the situation involving the pandemic improves, this Programme will gather pace.