Ireland’s Health Services, known as Health Service Executive (HSE), will continue paying claims to narcolepsy sufferers who are suing after they were diagnosed with the sleep disorder following the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine.

This decision is an apparent about-face, as claimants a few weeks prior received letters from the HSE stating it would discontinue paying claims. Signed by HSE Director of Advocacy Greg Price, the letters said, in part, “Given that [claimant], as is her right, has now instituted High Court Proceedings against the HSE and Minister for Health, etc., this matter will be handled on our behalf by the State Claims Agency. In those circumstances, we are advised by the State Claims Agency that we will not be able to make any payments in respect of any ongoing or future expenses incurred by you associated with [claimant’s] diagnosis with narcolepsy.”

In a printed release, the HSE more recently said, “In writing to suffers of narcolepsy, it was never the intention of the HSE to withdraw any discretionary medical cards or any other health services or supports.

The letter that [was] issued by the HSE never stated that the State Claims Agency advised the HSE of any requirement to alter its approach in this regard.

The interpretation of the letter by some media may have given an impression that the HSE had intended to withdraw such medical support.

The Director General of the HSE wishes to make it absolutely clear that

– He has given a direction that medical supports and services will not be withdrawn for this category of narcolepsy sufferers;

– He wishes to apologise if the letter issued has caused any distress or upset to any person, family or group.”

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