Swine flu narcoleptics given hope for future by Reilly
Published 11/02/2014 | 02:30
Optimisim is growing that the prognosis for young people who developed the incurable sleeping disease narcolepsy may be better that previously thought, according to Health Minister James Reilly.
Over 70 children in Ireland developed narcolepsy, which leaves them prone to sleep attacks, after they got the swine flu vaccine on the advice of the country's top health officials.
The minister said scientific research now indicated that with appropriate medication and supports, they would be able to reach their potential.
He said the HSE and the Department of Education and Skills continued to provide a range of services and supports to individuals diagnosed with narcolepsy following pandemic vaccination regardless of age, on an ex-gratia basis.
"These services and supports which are co-ordinated by the HSE National Advocacy Unit are intended to provide that individuals receive tailored assistance to address their specific requirements, where appropriate.
" It is acknowledged that treatment and individual medical needs may need to be reassessed over time to take account of changes in their condition or circumstances."
The ex-gratia health supports include access to rapid diagnosis and treatment, multi-disciplinary assessments led by clinical experts, counselling services for both the individuals and their families and discretionary medical cards.
There are also ex-gratia reimbursement of vouched expenses incurred in the process of diagnosis and treatment, including travel expenses for attending medical appointments; physiotherapy, occupational therapy assessments, dental assessments and dietary services all on a needs basis.
"Regional co-ordinators have been appointed to assist individuals to provide advice, information and access to local services."