Louth TD calls for HSE to reimburse cost of medicinal cannabis for Dundalk teenager

Michelle O'Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O'Keeffe

Email:

michelle.okeeffe@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Louth TD calls for HSE to reimburse cost of medicinal cannabis for Dundalk teenager

Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú

A county Louth family has been waiting months for the HSE to reimburse them for buying medicinal cannabis under a ministerial licence that is ‘life-changing’ for their teenage daughter.

Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú raised the issue of Abigail McQuillan (16) from Blackrock, Co. Louth with Tanáiste Leo Varadkar in the Dáil last week. He also contacted Health Minister Stephen Donnelly about the case, but it has yet to be resolved.

The Sinn Féin TD said he was disappointed that the issue had not been resolved, six days after he brought it to the attention of the government, meaning Abigail’s family continue to have to pay €600 a month for the treatment without any sign of reimbursement.

He said: ‘Abigail’s mother, Deborah Downey, contacted my constituency office in December and since then, we have been working to try to get the reimbursement for the family, which they are entitled to.

‘Abigail has been in receipt of the ministerial-approved medicinal cannabis for seven months for Lennox Gastaut Syndrome.

'The frequency and intensity of the seizures she’d had have been greatly reduced because of the medicinal cannabis which is supplied through a chemists in Newry from a licenced clinic in London.

‘For the last number of months, Deborah has complied with the HSE’s numerous requests for further information, from her and from the neurologist treating Abigail.

'Despite our best attempts, there has been no resolution to this case and there has still been no update from the HSE after the specific case was raised in the Dáil last week.

‘Deborah has done everything possible in order to ensure the reimbursement is forthcoming, and continues to have to pay the €600 a month in order to get this lifechanging medication for her daughter.

'The family is now having to go without in order to continue to do this.

‘This is not the way it’s supposed to be for families like Abigail’s. They should not have to fight to get reimbursement for medicinal cannabis that has already been approved under ministerial licence.

‘I am calling on the HSE to prioritise this case and ensure that reimbursement is completed as soon as possible.

'The system needs to be streamlined because it is a bureaucratic nightmare for families who already have enough on their plate’.