Your Guide to the Long-Term Illness Scheme

What is the Long Term Illness Scheme?


If you have certain long-term illnesses or disabilities, you may apply to join the Long Term Illness Scheme.

 You will be supplied with a Long Term Illness book. This book allows you to get drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of your illness, free of charge.

It does not depend on your income or other circumstances and is separate from the Medical Card Scheme.

How do I qualify?

If you have one of the medical conditions listed below, you can apply under the long-term illness scheme to cover the cost of your medication for that condition.

  • Acute Leukaemia
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Mental Illness (in a person under 16)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Muscular Dystrophies
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Parkinsonism
  • Epilepsy
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Haemophilia
  • Spina Bifida
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide

  *described in legislation as Mental Handicap.

There is no income requirement, or means test.

You will need your pps number and must be ordinarily resident in Ireland.  This means that you are living in Ireland and intend to live for at least one year.

There is no income requirement or means test.

If you have a medical condition that is not listed above, you should consider applying under the Medical Card scheme.

How do I Apply?


Complete the application form which is available from your local health office or you can download the form from this page. 

Your doctor or consultant also has to sign the form to confirm your condition and list the medication you need to treat your condition.

When you have completed the form and the doctor has signed it, please return it to your local health organisation
You can use our Map Centre to find which office looks after your area.


How do I Use the Book?


A Long-Term Illness book will be issued to you if you are approved for the scheme.

This book contains the type and quantity of the drugs or medicines you need for your prescribed illness.

Your doctor will sign it and you can then bring this to the pharmacy when you need any of the items.

If your doctor or occupational therapist prescribes a medical or surgical appliance, it will be supplied to you from your local health office.

There is no separate application form for medical/surgical appliances - your doctor lists the type of appliance in your book and signs it.

Read about medications approved under the scheme.