Tuesday, 6 March 2007
Dáil Eireann Debate
265. Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children if a general practitioner can refuse to sign a medical or GP card application for a patient who wishes to apply; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8446/07]
Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): Under the Health Act, 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. This includes responsibility for ensuring that arrangements are in place to ensure appropriate service delivery for General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme (medical card and GP visit card) patients.
A person does not need to obtain a general practitioner’s signature in order to apply for a medical card or GP visit card. I understand that, where a patient is not successful in locating a GP who is in a position to accept additional patients on his/her GMS panel, the HSE will arrange to assign the patient to a GP in the area who holds a contract with the HSE. Such assignments are reviewed by the HSE after a six-month period, where the GP so requests.
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