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Written Answers. - General Medical Services (Payments) Board.

Wednesday, 8 May 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 465 No. 1

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[113]

 73. Mr. Hughes Information on Séamus Hughes Zoom on Séamus Hughes  asked the Minister for Health Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan  the reason Irish manufactured ileostomy appliances were delisted in favour of imported products on the review by the working group set up under the GMS (Payments) Board in 1992; and the plans, if any, he has to ensure that this decision which is costing Irish industry over £4 million in lost sales is reversed; and whether consultations with hospitals, patients and Irish manufacturers will be held. [9173/96]

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan,: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Limerick East): In 1992, the General Medical Services (Payments) Board decided to establish a working group to review in depth how the needs of people receiving non-drug items, including ostomy products under the General Medical Services scheme (GMS), were being met and if these needs could be met more efficiently.

The purpose of the review of ostomy-urinary products on the GMS Scheme was to ensure that the needs of users of ostomy-urinary appliances would be met in the most effective manner and that the most modern “user-friendly” products should be available to GMS patients. To this end, each product on the scheme was evaluated by a group, which included specific expertise in stoma care, on the basis of quality, suitability and security. All appliances were evaluated on this basis alone with no distinction being made between appliances manufactured in Ireland or abroad. Following this evaluation, it was decided that a number of out-dated products should be replaced because they had been superseded by the more advanced products referred to above.

Each September, all manufactures are given the opportunity to apply to the board to have their products considered for reimbursement. Following each review, a draft update list is sent to each manufacturer giving them the opportunity to make representations to the board if their application had not been successful. Further consideration is then given to each representation received and a final update is sent to each manufacturer effective from 1st January each year.

In addition, the Irish Medical Devices Association, representing the manufacturers of non-drug items, have met with members of the non-drug review group on a number of occasions with the purpose of establishing guidelines for [114] manufacturing-distributors of ostomy-urinary appliances. These meetings have been most successful and it is hoped to publish shortly “Criteria for Ostomy/Urinary Products in the GMS Scheme”, including minimum data requirement for user trials of these products.

With regard to consultation with hospitals, all relevant documentation is forwarded to hospitals as soon as it is available. A booklet entitled “List of Reimbursable Non-Drug Items in the GMS Scheme” is published each year and sent to relevant personnel. Representations made by Hospital Stoma Care Advisers have been considered at each review. Following the 1992 review, the Department and the General Medical Services (Payments) Board met with the Ileostomy Association and explained the basis of the decision to revise the list of ostomy products available to GMS patients. The association expressed satisfaction with the outcome of that meeting.

I am at a loss to understand the figures mentioned by the Deputy as the total expenditure in the GMS scheme on all ostomy-urinary products in 1995 amounted to only £2.82 million.


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