Sinn Féin Kerry County Councillor, Pa Daly has said that many GPs in the county are wrongly charging medical card and GP visit card holders for blood tests and other essential services.
Cllr Daly has been contacted by several people from across Kerry who have said that they are being charged for blood tests and vitamin B12 injections, despite the fact that these services should be free.
Should Not be Charged
He said under the terms of the current general medical services contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients with ‘all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner.’
Minister said No Charge
Cllr. Daly, his party’s Kerry candidate in the forthcoming general election, also said that the Minister for Health Simon Harris has stated that these patients should not be charged for these services.
Cllr Daly said this was also impacting on many people including cancer patients:
€50 From State Pension
“I was first contacted by an older person who had to pay €50 out of their state pension to pay a GP for services that are free to medical card patients.
“I have since been told by several others across the county that their GPs have been demanding payment for services that are free to medical card and GP visit card holders.
Charges Imposed – ‘Scandalous’
“One cancer patient informed me that they are being charged for all their routine blood tests, which is scandalous.
“Blood tests are an essential part of the ongoing treatment of cancer patients.
“According to the HSE and the Minister for Health, GPs are contracted by the HSE to provide these services free of charge to medical card and GP visit card holders.
GPs are reimbursed by the HSE for providing these essential services.
Not All GPs Wrongly Charging
“This is adding undue stress and financial hardship, particularly on older people and on some seriously ill people in the county.
“I would like to point out that this is not the case with every GP in Kerry and that many are providing these services free of charge as they are contracted to do.
“It is very disappointing that this is still happening more that two years after Sinn Féin previously raised this issue in Kerry.
“The HSE and Minister need to clarify this situation once and for all,” Cllr. Daly concluded.