Health

Wednesday 20 August 2014

HSE deal offers hope to man with rare illness

A DISPUTE over an Irishman's entitlement to medical treatment in Germany for a rare illness may be resolved following a new offer from the HSE, the High Court has heard.

Paul Flood (56) has been receiving treatment in Germany since he fell ill while on holiday there in 2002 with a rare genetic condition affecting the brain stem which left him quadriplegic and without motor function.

And the treatment in Germany is paid for by the HSE under EU law. The treatment costs between €60,000 and €75,000 a year.

Last November, however, he was informed in a letter from the HSE that the funding for his medical costs was to be cut by 83pc.

It is claimed Mr Flood, with addresses at Rivercourt, Camac Close, Dublin, and Lippestrasse, Dusseldorf, Germany, has been left upset and greatly distressed by the decision and the fact that the HSE has not given any rationale for it.

Mr Flood, who was studying and lecturing in Ireland before his illness, receives treatment and care in Germany which allows him to live semi-independently.

Since contracting the condition, he has been living in Germany with his partner, the court heard previously.

In 2006 he began investigating whether he could return to Ireland, but the only option available, if he was to get the same type of treatment he gets in Germany, would involve fully institutionalised living and a loss of any form of independence he currently enjoys.

He is seeking a number of court orders including that the HSE is required to provide funding to the relevant German authority for the provision of medical services and therapy he has been receiving.

He is also seeking an order restraining the HSE from ceasing to provide funding along with declarations that its actions are unfair and in breach of his constitutional rights.

Yesterday, the case was due to open before Mr Justice Gerard Hogan who adjourned it until next January after hearing the HSE had made an offer last Friday to Mr Flood to try to resolve the matter.

Shane Murphy, for the HSE, said his client had refined a previous offer it had made to Mr Flood whereby it offered to cover him under an alternative EU medical scheme (known as the E106 scheme) to the one he is currently dealt with under, the E112 scheme.

Concession

The E106 entitles a person receiving social welfare to receive healthcare in another EU member state.

This was without requiring any concession from Mr Flood who had argued he intended returning to Ireland and he was therefore entitled to medical treatment in Germany on that basis, Mr Murphy said.

In those circumstances, the HSE was seeking an adjournment to allow the alternative scheme to be implemented.

Lydon MacCann, for Mr Flood, said he was only prepared to agree to the adjournment if an undertaking was given that his client would continue to receive treatment pending a full resolution.

After being told that undertaking was being given, Mr Justice Hogan adjourned the case to January.

Irish Independent

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