If you contracted Hepatitis C from the administration of contaminated blood or blood products within the Irish State, you are entitled to a range of health care services. If you need assistance in relation to accessing the health care services outlined on this page, contact our office.
What Is The Health Amendment Act Card?
The Health Amendment Act card is given to persons who contracted Hepatitis C from the administration within the State of contaminated blood and blood products. It is not the same as a medical card. The HAA Card gives entitlements to additional services, on more flexible terms and conditions than the medical card. There are approximately 1600 HAA cards in the Republic of Ireland.
How To Apply
Transfusion Positive will be glad to assist you in making this application, contact our office for further assistance.
You are entitled to the following:
- To attend any registered GP of your choice.
- To change GP if you wish.
- To all general practitioner(GP) medical and surgical services, in relation to all medical conditions, provided by a registered medical practitioner chosen by you.
- The GP should write prescriptions on a private prescription form.
- A pharmacist will dispense prescriptions prescribed by your GP without charge on production of your HAA card. back to top
Prescribed Drugs and Medications Prescriptions:
HAA cardholders are entitled to any prescribed drugs and medications without charge. To avail of this service you present your HAA card to the pharmacy of your choice along with the relevant prescription. The pharmacy you choose is at your discretion. You do not have to attend a local pharmacy, or attend the same pharmacist each time you get a prescription dispensed if you choose not to. The pharmacist is obliged to dispense whatever is placed on the prescription and if there are issues relating to the nature of items on the prescription or if there are any queries relating to payment these should not be addressed with the HAA cardholder, instead the pharmacist should deal with the HSE Liaison Officer. Prescribed drugs and medications do not include cosmetic type toiletries. back to top
HAA cardholders are entitled to any necessary aids and appliances whether or not they are required as a direct result of your Hepatitis C condition. The aid or appliance must be prescribed by your GP, Consultant, Occupation Therapist or Public Health Nurse/Clinical Nurse Coordinator. Items available to assist with mobility either inside or outside the home include walking sticks and frames, wheelchairs, grab rails, shower seats, bath and bed hoists etc. In the case of difficulties obtaining any aid or appliance, the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer will assist. back to top
HAA cardholders are entitled to all:
- Necessary routine and emergency dental treatment
- Full denture treatment and appliances
Dental treatments will be provided by dentists who participate in the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (D.T.S.S.) operated by the HSE. A list of participating dentists is available from the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer in each area. If you require a prescription your dentist should write this on a private prescription form. You are entitled to have this prescription dispensed free of charge by a pharmacist on production of your HAA card.
If you are attending a dentist who is currently not on the list of dentists participating in the D.T.S.S., arrangements can be made for payment to this dentist by the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer in your area.
Treatments covered by your HAA card:
- Oral Examination
- Scaling and treatment of mild gum conditions
- Routine Fillings
- Extractions (including surgical)
- Root canal treatment (front teeth upper/lower)
- Amputation of roots
- Dentures (including repairs)
For more serious conditions your dentist may refer you to an appropriate expert for investigation and/or treatment. back to top
If you require eyesight tests and/or spectacles, you can attend any Ophthalmic Optician of your choice. You are entitled to any optical appliance or service that is clinically necessary. The HSE will reimburse the optician directly for the cost of the sight test and spectacle lenses.
What you are entitled to:
- An eye examination without charge, whenever necessary.
- Spectacles required for either distance or reading, or both, with plastic lenses if desired. Bifocal and varifocal lenses are also covered.
- The full cost of any clinically necessary lenses.
- A grant of €90 towards the cost of the frames.
- You are entitled to two pairs of new spectacles per prescription within any two year period, unless of course you need to have them replaced more often because of a change in your prescription.
The cost of any lenses that are clinically necessary in your glasses are covered. In the case of varifocal lenses, a grant of €249 is available for a complete pair (including €90 towards the frames) which should cover the full cost. However, in the case where the complete cost of the varifocals is not covered by the €249 grant, the balance will have to be paid by you and then once you provide receipts to your Liaison Officer you will be reimbursed. back to top
Counselling services for Hepatitis C are available to HAA cardholders and can also be availed of by immediate relatives. Counsellors must be accredited to certain professional bodies in order to provide counselling services to HAA cardholders. At the moment, accreditation from the following bodies is acceptable and recognised by the HSE:
- Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI)
- Irish Association for Counselling and Therapy (IACT)
- Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP)
The choice of counsellor is entirely at the HAA cardholders discretion. The HSE have some counsellors in each area who are on a HSE dedicated list of counsellors and this is available from the local Hepatitis C Liaison Officer. The Hepatitis C Liaison Officer will make arrangements to pay the counsellor on your behalf once they are accredited to the regulatory bodies. back to top
HAA cardholders can avail of chiropody and podiatry services from any qualified chiropodist or podiatrist. Choice of chiropodist is at discretion of the HAA cardholder. You can avail of as many visits to the chiropodist/podiatrist as you need and there is no requirement to obtain prior approval or a GP's referral. You can then either recoup the cost of your consultations with the chiropodist on production of receipts with your Liaison Officer or alternatively the Liaison Officer can arrange to pay the chiropodist on your behalf. The type of services which are offered by most chiropodist/podiatrist include the following:
- Foot-care and footwear advice
- Pain management in the foot
- Nail surgery
- Verrucae treatment
- Diabetic foot care and continuous assessment
- Preventative footcare by the use of customised orthotics back to top
Complementary therapies are available to all HAA cardholders. The term complementary therapies refers to therapies that are not used as part of conventional medicine. This position is now changing and some healthcare professionals are now offering and providing complementary therapies to their patients as part of their overall care. Many people find complementary therapies beneficial in dealing with a number of conditions, including Hepatitis C. For example, complementary therapies may include:
It is essential that your liver specialist approves of any complementary therapy that you are proposing to avail of. You should keep your liver specialist informed of any service or treatment you are undertaking.
- Complementary therapies are available to you under the terms of the Health Amendment Act card and can be availed of once referred by a GP or Consultant
- One referral is sufficient to allow you to attend sessions as often as required and agreed by your therapist.
- Therapies can be availed of in both the public and private setting.
- Therapies availed of in the private setting must be performed by a therapist who is qualified as a registered practitioner, i.e. GP, Registered Nurse, Physiotherapist, Chiropodist.
- Your Hepatitis C Liaison Officer can advise on qualified therapists in your area and will make arrangements to pay them directly on your behalf or reimburse you on production of receipts/evidence of qualifications. back to top
The HSE are responsible for providing you with a home support service to assist you in carrying out any household duty you are not able to perform due to your illness. All HAA cardholders are entitled to avail of this service. When it has been established that you require assistance in carrying out normal household duties a recommendation will be made by a GP/Consultant on the number of hours required. Normal household duties include cleaning, cooking, gardening, painting, caring for small children, ironing etc. but depends very much on individual needs of the HAA cardholder.
There are 2 options for having your home support needs met:
- The Liaison Officer can arrange for the HSE to provide you with a home support worker and they will be a HSE employee paid directly by the HSE and employed on the same terms and conditions as all HSE employees or will be an employee of a home help organisation on contract to the HSE.
- You can choose somebody yourself to carry out your home support and the Liaison Officer will make arrangements for you to be paid an amount which allows you to pay for your own home support services. Regular returns detailing hours worked etc. need to be sent to the Liaison Officer in your area at regular intervals.
All HAA cardholders are entitled to avail of a home nursing service and this is in respect of any condition that requires the cardholder to be looked after at home, regardless of whether or not the condition is related to Hepatitis C. back to top
Hearing tests and aids (sometimes referred to as aural services) are available to all HAA cardholders. If any cardholder requires hearing tests and/or hearing aids; he/she should initially contact the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer for details on how to access the service, as arrangements for audiology services vary from region to region. Contact our office if you require assistance in relation to accessing this service.
If you have difficulty with your hearing, you are advised to contact your GP or hepatologist in the first instance, so that any medical problems can be ruled out. If necessary, your hepatologist or GP might decide to refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. This referral, as with all referrals to another specialty, should be facilitated within 2 weeks and you should liaise with the Hepatitis C Liaison Nurse in your Liver Unit. back to top
Physiotherapy services are available to you either privately by a chartered physiotherapist or else in the hospital setting once you are referred by your GP/Consultant. Chiropractic, osteopathic and hydrotherapy services are also available to you and can be availed of once they are performed by a registered chartered physiotherapist.
Availing of Services:
Once you are referred by your GP/Consultant you should contact your Liaison Officer who will advise you on private chartered physiotherapists in your area that already provide physiotherapy services to HAA cardholders. The Liaison Officer can make an initial appointment for you if you wish. The HSE will then pay this physiotherapist directly for you each time you attend.
You may attend a physiotherapist of your choice and if you wish, the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer will contact the physiotherapist on your behalf to check whether he/she wishes to be added to the HSE list, or if not, will agree to bill the HSE directly for your own treatment. If the physiotherapist is unwilling, or if you would prefer that the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer did not get involved, you are still free to attend this physiotherapist and have the cost recouped. You do not have to attend a local chartered physiotherapist, or to continue attending the same physiotherapist if you choose not to. back to top
For further information in relation to Hepatology Units and hospital services for HAA cardholders, contact Transfusion Positive. The Liver Units designated to provide care for adults with Hepatitis C are located in the following public hospitals:
- Hepatology Unit, Beaumont Road, Dublin 9.
- Telephone: (01) 809 2220 / 809 3000
- Fax: (01) 809 2219
- Contact: Emer Bolger, Ciara Corrigan
Mater Misercordiae University Hospital
- Centre for Liver Disease, 55 Eccles Street, Dublin 3.
- Telephone: (01) 803 2048 / 803 2000 / 803 4126
- Fax: (01) 803 4058
- Contact: Caroline Walsh
St. James's Hospital
- Hepatology Unit, James's Street, Dublin 8.
- Telephone: (01) 410 3417 / 410 3000 / 416 2689
- Fax: (01) 410 3418
- Contact: Helena Irish
St. Vincent's University Hospital
- Liver Unit, Elm Park, Dublin 4.
- Telephone: (01) 277 4713 / 277 4000
- Fax: (01) 221 8960
- Contact: Aileen Murphy, Sheila O'Toole
St. Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny
- Hepatology Unit, Kilkenny.
- Telephone: (056) 778 5308 / 778 5329
- Fax: (056) 775 2232
- Contact: Pauline Carroll
Cork University Hospital
- Hepatology Unit, Wilton, Cork.
- Telephone: (021) 492 2274 / 492 2167
- Fax: (021) 493 6383
- Contact: Susan Corbett
University College Hospital, Galway
- Hepatology Unit, Galway.
- Telephone: (091) 544 370 / 524 222
- Fax: (091) 520 233
- Contact: Margaret Scarry
For children until the age of 18 years, the Liver Unit designated to provide services is Our Lady's Children's Hospital. After their 18th birthday, children are referred by Our Lady's Hospital to one of the adult Liver Units of their choice.
Our Lady's Children's Hospital
- Hepatology Unit, Crumlin Hospital, Dublin 12.
- Telephone: (01) 428 2527 / 409 6742
- Fax: (01) 409 6217
- Contact: Eleanor Knopsner back to top
Each of the HSE areas has appointed a Hepatitis C Liaison Officer. The role of the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer is to ensure that persons who have contracted Hepatitis C from the administration of blood or blood products within the State receive the services they are entitled to under the terms of the 1996 Act. The Hepatitis C Liaison Officers are responsible for coordinating and assisting you in accessing primary care services.
- Ms. Michele Tait
- National Hep C Co-ordinator, Health Service Executive, Mill Lane, Palmerstown, Dublin 20.
- Telephone: (01) 620 1750 / 620 1712 / 620 1708
- Email: Michele Tait
Dublin North East
- Dublin North West / Dublin North / Dublin North Central / Cavan / Louth / Meath / Monaghan
- Mr. Larry Bathe
- Primary Care Unit, Railway Street, Navan, Co. Meath.
- Telephone: (046) 907 6451
- Email: Larry Bathe
- Dublin South / East / Kildare / Wicklow
- Michelle Hayes
- Hepatitis C Office, Health Service Executive, Mill Lane, Palmerstown, Dublin 20.
- Telephone: (01) 620 1840
- Email: Michelle Hayes
- Laois / Longford / Offaly / Westmeath
- Elaine Barry
- Primary Care Unit, Health Services Executive, St. Lomans, Springfield, Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
- Telephone: (044) 938 4429
- Email: Elaine Barry
- Carlow / Kilkenny / Tipperary South / Waterford / Wexford
- Ms. Anne Bambrick
- Primary Care Unit, HSE, Lacken, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny
- Telephone: (056) 778 4296
- Email: Anne Bambrick
- Cork / Kerry
- Donal Murphy
- Primary Care Unit, Floor 3, Block 15, St Finbarrs Hospital, Douglas Road, Cork
- Telephone: (021) 492 1872
- Email: Donal Murphy
- Clare / Limerick / Tipperary North
- Ellen Rush
- HSE West, Tyone Health Centre, Tyone, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
- Telephone: (067) 46449
- Email: Ellen Rush
- Leitrim / Sligo / Donegal
- Colin McCann
- Primary Care Development / Home Care Services, HSE West, 1st Floor, County Clinic, St. Conalís Hospital, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.
- Telephone: (074) 910 4698
- Email: Colin McCann
- Galway / Mayo / Roscommon
- Mr. Richard Broderick
- Primary Care Unit, Health Service Executive, Merlin Park Regional Hospital, Galway.
- Telephone: (091) 775 673 / 775 416
- Email: Richard Broderick