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GPs and pharmacists ready to sign up to national vaccine plan

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By Michelle Crean

Local GPs and pharmacies are ready and willing to sign up to the Government's newly announced €91m national plan to administer the COVID vaccine.

As cases still remain high across the country and county, the Government is looking for new ways to get the vaccine out to the public in a more efficient way starting from February.

The plan was presented and then signed off by Cabinet on Tuesday morning by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, and it's understood that GPs and pharmacists will be paid €25 for administering each dose of the vaccine under the deal, with an additional €10 processing fee paid per patient.

As of Wednesday night, 121,900 vaccines have been given to frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff in nursing homes nationally as part of the State’s vaccination programme.

Local pharmacist Ian Trant of Sewells Pharmacy in High Street said that although they have yet to receive any information from the HSE about how it will all proceed, that they will "more then likely sign up" to the deal.

"Once we hear from the HSE, we'll have to sit down and think about it," Ian told the Killarney advertiser this week.
"It's vaccination centres they should be setting up straight away for more space, somewhere like the Aura or the INEC or any hotel with a big function room."

Dr Laura Malone from Killarney GP, said that they too "will be taking part in the COVID-19 vaccination programme".

"It is important for patients to be aware that we do not have any vaccine at present," she told the Killarney Advertiser.

"There is no special list you can be added to so please do not ring your GP to be added to the list. Vaccine roll out will be very specifically targeted at age groups starting with the over 85s. Patients will be invited to attend for their vaccine."

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES

On Wednesday the Minister for Health also welcomed confirmation that the HSE is to make available to GPs increased direct access to diagnostic services from this week.

The initiative will give GPs across the country the ability to access an additional 94,000 diagnostic procedures, such as X-Rays, CT scans, MRIs, and DEXA.

"This will be a game changer for General Practice," Dr Malone added. "It means that GPs will be able to provide a more effective service for patients. International evidence shows that increased access to diagnostics will lead to a reduction in diagnostic delay, a reduction in the number of referrals to both emergency and out-patient departments, a reduction in unnecessary admissions and an improvement in the quality of referrals overall. This in turn will lead to more effective use of the hospital services and improve the quality of service for patients."

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Help with Prescription Charges

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860 or email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie.

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There are some schemes available which assist with the cost of prescribed medications and appliances and the qualifying conditions for each scheme is different.

Q. Do I have to pay for prescriptions if I have a Medical Card?

A. If you have a Medical Card, there is a charge for prescribed medicines and other items that you get on prescription from pharmacies. The prescription charge is €1.50 for each item that is dispensed to you under the Medical Card scheme, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family. For people aged over 70, the prescription charge is €1 per item, up to a maximum of €10 per month per person or family.

Q. If I have a GP Visit Card does it cover prescription charges?

A. No. Prescribed drugs are not free but may be covered by the Drugs Payment Scheme.

Q. What is the Drug Payment Scheme?

A. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you and your family only have to pay a maximum of €80 each month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines, and certain appliances. After you register for the scheme, you will get a plastic swipe card for each person named on the registration form. You should show this card whenever you collect your medication or appliances from the pharmacy. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Drugs Payment Scheme. You should use the same pharmacy in a month to avoid paying more than the maximum €80. You do not have to register with a pharmacy for the scheme.
You can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme online at mydps.ie or by completing an application form which you can get from your local Citizens Information Centre or Local Health Office.

Q. What is the Long-Term Illness Scheme?

A. If you have a medical condition covered by the Long-Term Illness Scheme, you can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition. The qualifying conditions include Diabetes, Epilepsy, Parkinsonism and Multiple Sclerosis. You can get a full list of the conditions covered under this scheme from your local Citizens Information Service. You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland to qualify. This means that you are living here and intend to live here for at least one year. Students from outside the EU do not qualify for the Long-Term Illness Scheme. The Long-Term Illness Scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances. You may also be eligible for a Medical Card or GP Visit Card, depending on your circumstances. Contact your local Citizens Information Centre for an application form or download it from www.hse.ie.

Q. Can you tell me about the Discretionary Hardship Scheme?

A. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PSRS) provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme. These products are approved for the schemes by the HSE. Some items that can be bought over the counter are not included in the free or subsidised schemes. If you have a Medical Card and are prescribed an item that is not on PCRS list, your pharmacist or Local Health Office can apply for it to be paid for by the Discretionary Hardship Scheme. If the hardship scheme does not cover the cost of the medicine and you have to pay for it, you may want to check with your doctor to see if there is an alternative medicine. You can get more information about the scheme from your pharmacist or Local Health Office.

Q. Is there any tax relief for medical expenses?

A. If you pay medical expenses that are not covered by the State or by private health insurance, you can claim tax back on some of those expenses, which includes tax relief on medical expenses for prescribed drugs and medicines. You can claim tax relief online using Revenue’s myAccount service.

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860 or email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie.

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The ultimate Quest makes a welcome return to Killarney

Adventure race enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the much anticipated return of Quest Killarney. Last held in 2019, this year’s event attracted over 2,500 […]

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Adventure race enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the much anticipated return of Quest Killarney.

Last held in 2019, this year’s event attracted over 2,500 participants who signed up to run, cycle and kayak their way around some of the most iconic scenery in the country.

Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View, Mangerton Mountain and Torc Waterfall were just some of the stunning locations along five routes of varying distances: 25km, 55km, 66km (run and cycle only), 75km, and 83km. The choice of routes allowed everyone from beginners to those with more experience to take part, as well as taking into account varying post-lockdown fitness levels!

Taking part this year were a couple of popular first-timers. Fresh from RTÉ’s Hell Week was Kerry’s own viral Instagrammer Tadgh Fleming who completed the 55k Sport Route. A fresh looking Tadgh said at the finish that Quest Killarney was, “Nothing like Hell Week, a bit harder I think! But really enjoyed it, I’d highly recommend it, going for the Pro next time!”

Incorporating Quest Killarney on her transformative weight loss journey was an elated Patricia Lewis (Trisha Transformations) who completed the 27km Challenge route, and had this to say as she crossed the finish line: “Anyone who’s thinking about doing it, don’t even hesitate, register now!”

Now on its tenth event, Quest Killarney, the world’s biggest adventure race, enjoys a growing reputation as a challenging race with a friendly atmosphere. It is also popular with visitors and participants alike as they are introduced to the stunning natural charm of Killarney’s glorious lakes and imposing mountains.

First home in the 83km Expert route was Niall Davis in a time of 04:17:55. In second place was Sebastien Giraud (04:32:47), and in third was Garry Carroll (04:34:24).
Kerry’s own Ellen Vitting (based in Kenmare) and RTÉ Hell Week finalist, was the first female home in 05:02:07. In second position was Laura O’Driscoll (05:18:43), in third position was Eimear O’Brien (05:27:13).

Overall male winner in the 73km Pro route was Dwayne Flynn (03:48:47) and overall female winner was Siobhan Dineen (04:08:37). Overall winners in the 55km ‘Sport’ route were Kevin McGuinness (02:13:08) in the men’s race and Orlaith Smith (02:34:45) in the women’s race. Winners of the 65km ‘Dual’ route were men’s race Liam Aherne (02:40:40) and women’s race Emer Monaghan (03:09:49). Winners of the 27km ‘Challenge’ route were Larry Stapleton for the men (01:13:27) and Niamh Hickey for the women (01:21:08).

Competitors were treated to hot food and music at the finish line, with prize-giving at The Gleneagle Hotel whose significant sponsorship and exceptional support continues to contribute to a positive day for everyone.

“We are thrilled that Quest Killarney has once again proven so popular with adventurers who are looking for a new challeng,” Oliver Kirwan, Race Organiser, said.

“Killarney itself is a great draw to visitors both from Kerry and further afield, introducing new people every year to its inspirational terrain. We are very much looking forward to preparing for 2023 as we encourage more people to discover their next adventure and put themselves to the Quest! We are grateful to everyone who gave us support and volunteered their time. We’d like to thank our main event sponsors Volvo and The Gleneagle Hotel, and also the contribution of our event partners All Real, Gnarly Peaks, Nuasan and MCG Kayaks.”

Organisers Elite Event Management are delighted to announce their event dates for 2023: Quest Kenmare on 11 March 2023, Quest Glendalough on 1 April 2023, Quest Lough Derg on 9 September 2023, and Quest Killarney on 7 October 2023.

For more information on next year’s events please visit www.questadventureseries.com.

 

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