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GP practice payments are ‘totally misleading’

The Chair of the IMO GP committee has said criticism of GPs regarding HSE payments made to GP practices is “totally misleading”.

Dr Denis McCauley said the figures provided by the HSE implied that GPs were receiving much more income than was the case and did not reflect “the realities of how the State funds general practice for GMS patients and how GPs get little or no support for buildings or other major costs”.

“This is a totally misleading figure and does not take into account the significant costs GPs incur in running their practices – including staff costs, insurance, the cost of the premises itself and other related costs of running a business,” continued Dr McCauley.

According to the IMO, each year the HSE provide figures with no context and with the personal details of GPs “which is simply unacceptable”.

Dr McCauley added that general practice was essential to the delivery of healthcare particularly during the Covid-19 crisis. He said that GPs were still struggling following recession-era cuts and faced a significant manpower crisis with almost 600 GPs due to retire in the coming years.

“This kind of spin from the HSE, with no context or acknowledgement of the significant efforts of GPs who deliver 25 million consultations each year, does nothing for morale and is certainly not indicative of a collaborative approach to the delivery of healthcare in the community.

“Covid-19 has emphasised the crucial importance of GPs to the health system, who are doing an extraordinary amount of work in unprecedented circumstances. The implication that this money goes directly to GPs is very unfair and it is regrettable that we have to emphasise this point yet again.”

Earlier today, the media reported that over 2,900 GPs “were paid” almost €589 million for treating medical card patients last year.

Fifty-one doctors “received over €500,000 each”, according to the article which outlined data received following a Freedom of Information request.

“This includes practice-support payments they received from the Health Service Executive,” stated the article.

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