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GPs face lengthy delays for HSE practice support payments

A Limerick GP, Dr Clodagh Buckley, who took over a GMS panel from a retiring GP at the beginning of January, is still waiting for the HSE to issue her with a practice support subsidy towards nursing and secretarial hours, despite submitting all the necessary paperwork.

The GP raised the issue on Twitter recently and tagged Minister for Health Simon Harris in her post.

“As a young GP, I took over a GMS panel from a retiring GP on 1 January. Despite all the paperwork received by the HSE, I have received no practice support subsidy towards nursing or secretarial hours for the past three months, #GPincrisis, #nobodycares,” Dr Buckley wrote.

Another rural GP principal, Dr Noelle Quann, responded in support of Dr Buckley’s plight and noted her similar situation.

Dr Quann wrote that Dr Buckley was “not alone” and she was “worn-out from fighting for [the] practice support subsidy” when she took over her list in October 2016.

She said the difficulty in gaining practice support was hard to understand, particularly with fears of a national GP shortage in the future and the need to recruit and retain young GPs.

Just a few days after raising the issue on Twitter, however, Dr Buckley informed her followers that she will receive the subsidy in May.

“@HSELive have contacted me this evening stating the subsidies will be in place in May. Thanks to all for retweets, #somebodycares, #reverseFEMPI.”

The news was welcomed by fellow GPs, although one wrote that it was a disgrace Dr Buckley had to go to social media to get a response from the HSE.

Another GP, Dr Rita Doyle, former President of the ICGP, advised Dr Buckley to charge the HSE interest for the late payment.

Meanwhile, several GPs have reacted negatively to the recent television appearance of Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan on RTÉ One’s Prime Time, where the issues of FEMPI and GP services were discussed.

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