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HSE Schemes explained

Long Term Illness Scheme

What is the Long Term Illness Scheme?

If you have certain long-term illnesses or disabilities, you may apply to join the Long Term Illness Scheme and you will be supplied with a Long Term Illness book. This book allows you to get drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of your illness, free of charge. It does not depend on your income or other circumstances and is separate from the Medical Card Scheme and the GP Visit Card Scheme.

If you already have been given a Medical Card, you do not need to apply for a Long Term Illness book. If you become ineligible for a Medical Card at any stage, but have one of the medical conditions below, you should apply to join the Long Term Illness scheme to cover the cost of your medication.

How do I Qualify?

You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland and hold a PPSN. You qualify if you have one of the illnesses or disabilities listed below:

  • Acute Leukaemia
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Epilepsy
  • Haemophilia
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Mental handicap
  • Mental Illness (in a person under 16)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophies
  • Parkinsonism
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Spina Bifida
  • Conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide

There is no income requirement or means test. If you have a medical condition that is not listed above, you should consider applying for a Medical Card or a GP Visit Card.

How do I Apply?

Fill in the application form which is available from your Local Health Office. Your doctor or consultant will sign the form to confirm your condition and list your medication.

How do I Use the Book?

A Long-Term Illness book will be issued to you if you are approved for the scheme. This book contains the type and quantity of the drugs or medicines you need for your prescribed illness. Your doctor will sign it and you can then bring this to the pharmacy when you need any of the items. If your doctor or occupational therapist prescribes a medical or surgical appliance, it will be supplied to you from your Local Health Office.There is no separate application form for medical/surgical appliances – your doctor lists the type of appliance in your book and signs it.


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