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Department of Health announces change to GP charges for Covid-19 consultations

By Reporter - 08th Dec 2022

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GPs will no longer be in a position, or be subsidised by the HSE, to refer patients to a community test centre, and any private patients attending their GP will be subject to normal consultation fees as applicable in their GP practice, the Department of Health has announced.

The change in policy will apply from 9 December.

The emergency measures introduced in March 2020, where remote consultations, referrals to community testing centres and Covid-19 respiratory clinic consultations were provided to all free of charge will now cease.

Patients with GP visit cards and medical cards will not be affected by this change.

GPs will no longer refer patients to one of the 29 community testing centres but the HSE’s self-referral portal for tests at these centres remains open.

In addition, a new fee will be paid by the HSE to GPs to cover consultations with vulnerable patients for whom the GP requires the result of a Covid-19 test to contribute to the diagnosis and management of that patient, such as those who would benefit from the prescription of the Covid-19 antiviral medicine Paxlovid.

GPs can test vulnerable patients during consultations where clinically required to diagnose and treat Covid-19 rather than referring the patient to a HSE Covid-19 testing centre.

This €55 fee will be paid in respect of patients who are categorised as being at the highest risk of becoming ill from Covid-19, and it comes into effect on Friday 9 December.

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