State financial assistance for people with diabetes
I have type 2 diabetes and I am returning to live in Ireland from the UK. Is there any state help with the costs of prescription drugs for people with diabetes?
Any person with diabetes, type 1 or type 2, regardless of income, is entitled to a long-term illness book. An application form can be obtained from the chemist where you will be getting your diabetes medication or from your GP and must be returned to your local health board. The long term illness book will then be issued and you will be entitled to all diabetes medication free of charge.
Medical card holders should also apply for the long-term illness book. They are entitled to doctors, drugs and hospital services free of charge. They are also exempt from the health levy or exam fees for children. In some cases, medical card holders may be able to get expenses involved in travelling to out-patient services. To qualify for a medical card, most people have to have means below certain limits but if an individual is near the limit and has ongoing medical expenses it is worth applying. Apply through your local health centre. The current situation is that all persons aged 70 or over now qualify for cover.
Before returning to Ireland, any person with diabetes should contact a general practitioner in the area that they intend to live and ensure that they will oversee their diabetes management. If a person wants to attend a hospital based diabetes clinic, they will need a referral letter. As the waiting list is up to 3 months long for new patients in some clinics, it is advisable to seek an appointment, as soon as one is definite about what part of the country they will reside.
Is it possible to change my GP?
My GP has been looking after my diabetes (Type 2) for two years and I am not happy with the care I am receiving. Is it possible to change my GP? If so, how do I go about it?
You may wish to consider making a complaint to the practice manager about the care you are being given. Each practice has internal procedures to deal with complaints.
If you still want to change your GP it is relatively simple. Just take your medical certificate to another practice and ask if they are registering patients. Check what diabetes care is provided by the practice before changing to make sure you will be moving to one that offers better services. If the practice is registering patients (that is, if it has an open list) then you should sign the form to say you wish to change practices and the GP will also sign it to say that he/she accepts you on his/her list.
If you have a medical card, you can still change G.P’s by following the above procedure and then informing your local H.S.E. office that you wish to discontinue care with your current G.P and move to the new G.P. You will need to allow time for the paper work on the change to be completed.
Hospital appointments for diabetes
My G.P has been looking after my diabetes and other medical conditions for the last five years. Should I not have had a hospital appointment to see a specialist? My neighbour has also just been told she has diabetes and has to go to the hospital for a ful
Your G.P will decide if you need to see a specialist. If you have Type 2 diabetes and the G.P is happy with your care, you may not need to see a specialist. People with type 2 diabetes should have a yearly check on their overall condition. It is one of the most important elements of diabetes care. There are no obvious symptoms to many of the early signs of diabetes complications but healthcare workers are trained to see early warning signs. The key to successful treatment is early detection.
Therefore, your annual check-up is one of the main ways to protect yourself from damaging complications. If your are not currently receiving an annual review, you should request a full review by your doctor or a specialist consultation. Everyone can request and is entitled to see a specialist if they wish to.
Waiting lists and lack of advice
My elderly mother visited her GP with what she thought was a kidney infection but was diagnosed as having ‘mature onset diabetes’ by her GP who took blood and urine samples. My mother now has to wait 6 months for an appointment to see a specialist.
She has never been overweight but had lost two stone in weight prior to her diagnosis and looks terrible. She feels awful and is very upset at having to wait 6 months for treatment as her GP has given her absolutely NO ADVICE or information (he is very old) – I would be most grateful for any help or any suggestions?
Unfortunately all the waiting lists are long to see doctors and specialists, your mum will have lost weight due to her diabetes, but she will start to feel better and look better once her diabetes is treated. Whilst waiting for her appointment she should start to eat a healthy diet with all refined sugar food eliminated. The doctor has probably given you a review date at which time he may start medication if there is no improvement. If you do not have a review date, please return to your GP for further attention to this problem.