Long-Term Illness Scheme

The Long-Term Illness Scheme allows people with certain conditions, who are not already medical card holders, to obtain the medicines and medical and surgical appliances they require for the treatment of their condition, without charge. No means test is involved.

The conditions included in this scheme are:

  • Mental disability
  • Mental illness (up to age 16 only)
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Haemophilia
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Epilepsy
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spina bifida
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Parkinsonism
  • Acute leukaemia
  • Conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide.

It should be noted however that a number of conditions that people often presume will be included in this scheme, such as asthma and Crohn's disease, are not, despite the fact that for the majority of people, these are long-term conditions.

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Once a person is deemed eligible for this scheme, he/she is issued with a long-term illness book. This lists all the drugs and medicines for the treatment of the particular condition, which will be provided to them free of charge through their community pharmacist.

If your doctor or occupational therapist prescribes a medical or surgical appliance, it will be supplied to you from your Local Health Office.

Anybody who suffers from any of the conditions listed above and who wishes to avail of the scheme, can obtain an application form from their GP or Local Health Office. Completed forms should be sent directly to the Local Health Office.

Individuals who are not medical card holders are not covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme, can avail of the Drugs Payment Scheme, which ensures no individual or family has to pay more than €85 for prescribed drugs and appliances in any one calendar month (find out more details of this scheme).

Reviewed: September 20, 2006