Thursday, 21 July 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
688. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that cuts in general medical service payments to general practitioners are having a disproportionate adverse effect on some rural GPs; the way he proposes to assist GPs affected by this measure in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22367/11]
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Fees and allowances paid to General Practitioners (GPs) under the General Medical Services Scheme, the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme, the Health (Amendment) Act 1996 (Hepatitis C patients) and the HeartWatch Programme amounted to some €435m in 2010. Regulations under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 (FEMPI) came into effect on 22nd December 2010. This applied an overall reduction of about 9% to a range of GP fees and allowances, which will result in full year savings in the region of €44m.
Under section 9 (13) of the FEMPI legislation, the Minister for Health is required to carry out a review of the operation, effectiveness and impact of the amounts and rates fixed under the regulations each year. This will involve full consultation with stakeholders. Any disproportionate impact on particular categories of GPs will be considered as part of this review process.
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