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According to the Organisation, the Department of Health and the HSE are responsible for the provision of phlebotomy outpatient clinics in public hospitals as confirmed by the Ombudsman and Information Commissioner (May 2007).
Phlebotomy is “not a service provided by all GPs and GPs individually decide on whether or not their practice will provide this additional service”, said the union. Where a GP does provide the service, patients may choose to avail of this additional service “for which there may be a charge”, or they may choose to be referred to the free public service in hospitals.
Dr Padraig McGarry, Chair of the IMO GP Committee, said: “The current GMS contract is 40 years old and does not provide for a 21st century GP service to patients. The Government need to be honest about this and instead of threatening GPs with investigations they should commit to adequately resourcing a contract that will provide a full range of services to patients, including chronic care and a range of additional services which can be effectively carried out in general practice.
“Such a commitment would ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care in a GP setting with the additional benefit of reducing outpatient waiting lists in hospitals.”
The IMO is currently in negotiations with the Department of Health and the HSE on a new GP contract for medical card and doctor visit card patients. The scope of services to be provided by GPs will be addressed in the context of these negotiations, stated the union today.