Dáil Éireann - Volume 427 - 02 March, 1993

Written Answers. - Eligibility for Alcoholism Treatment.

172. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Health the reason medical card holders who suffer from alcoholism are not eligible, under the medical card scheme for treatment at the Rutland Centre or at similar centres; if he will list the in-patient facilities which exist for alcoholics who are medical card holders; and if he has any plans to extend this list.

Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin): The Rutland Centre is a private limited company which specialises in the provision of residential treatment services for alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.

[255] The Eastern Health Board has been developing a community based alcoholism treatment service throughout its functional area in line with the recommendations of the 1984 report, Planning for the Future on the development of psychiatric services. In-patient facilities for persons with addictions who have special needs are provided at the board's psychiatric hospitals.

Referrals to the Rutland Centre by the Eastern Health Board are made on an individual basis for specific problems which might not be amenable to the services being provided by the Board. Medical card holders are eligible for referral to the Centre on the same basis as non-medical card holders. Eligibility for the service is based solely on the individual's medical need and not on his or her ability to pay.