Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton has discovered that the HSE have failed to update the list of qualifying health conditions for the Long Term Illness Scheme since 1975. The Long Term Illness Scheme allows for the supply of medicines and medical equipment to persons suffering from certain illnesses free of charge.

“A number of constituents have recently been in contact with me regarding their failure to qualify for the Long Term Illness Scheme. Despite suffering from long-term and often degenerative conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease or Alzheimer’s, from which they cannot recover, these people are excluded from the scheme.

“I recently raised the possibility of revising the qualifying conditions for the Long Term Illness Scheme with the Minister for Health by parliamentary question. She advised that the HSE had no plans to change the scheme at the moment. This is despite the fact that no modifications have been made to list of qualifying illnesses for 35 years.

“A large number of people with long term illnesses are failing to qualify for free medication to treat their condition under this scheme. Many of these people have applied for but have not been granted medical or GP visit cards. Even with the Drugs Payment Scheme which limits the monthly cost of prescription medications to €120, they can find very hard to meet their medication costs from their own means.

“There have been many breakthroughs in medical treatments and diagnoses since 1975. I feel that the HSE should amend the Long Term Illness scheme to reflect these changes and include common long term or permanent diseases.