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“Backward step” for mental health patients in Greater Dublin Area – Ó Caoláin

10 October, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as a “backward step” the decision of the HSE to charge for medication which was previously free of charge to mental health patients in the Greater Dublin Area.

Speaking on World Mental Health Day (Monday 10 October), Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The HSE is to charge mental health patients in the Greater Dublin Area for their medication which, up to this, was free of charge. Under a scheme which, I understand, was initially established by the former Eastern Health Board, all mental health patients received free psychiatric medication, including both medical card and non-medical card patients. This is to be changed from November, with non-medical card patients paying full costs (up to the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold of €120 per month).

“This is a backward step and Health Minister James Reilly should intervene to prevent it. Obviously it is an anomaly that such a scheme would apply to just one region in the State but patients should not simply be cut off in this summary fashion. Many may go without essential medication as a result. The scheme should remain in place pending a thorough review of supports for mental health patients across the State.”

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