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GP payment figures ‘are misleading’ – IMO

By Catherine Reilly - 19th Jul 2021

IMO Plaque Pics: Valerie O'Connor 24/06/05 Commissioned by Conor Ganly IMT

The IMO has said the “annual publication” of figures for payments made to GPs was a “misleading exercise” based on incomplete data and an “ignorance” of the substantial costs incurred by the relevant GPs in running their practices.

Chair of the GP committee Dr Denis McCauley said that 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 a medical practice was funded. A national newspaper reported this morning that five GP practices “got over €1 million each for treating medical card patients last year”. The article noted that the figures included practice support payments.

Dr McCauley also said GPs were incurring significant extra costs through their involvement in the national vaccination rollout and through keeping their practices open during the pandemic, while contending with significant staffing issues.

“These figures are deliberately misleading as they do 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. Those costs will have risen significantly in the current year, as GPs have had to safeguard their practices and deal with significant staffing issues since the onset of Covid-19 in March 2020.”

Dr McCauley added that GPs are facing a significant manpower crisis with almost 600 GPs due to retire in the coming years.

“Year after year, we have to address the publication of these figures by the HSE which are presented without any context. GPs have been on the frontline since March last year and have helped protect patients nationwide in the face of extreme pressure.

“The HSE does not appear to have any appreciation for their service or any understanding of the realities of running a practice and it is regrettable that we have to emphasise this point yet again.”

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