Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Department of Health and Children
General Medical Services Scheme
Question 245: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the arrangements in place to ensure that patients entitled to GMS will have access to a general practitioner in areas where doctors are not accepting new people on their lists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19773/08]
Under the Health Act, 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. This includes responsibility for arrangements to ensure appropriate service delivery for General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme (medical card and GP visit card) patients. The arrangements for the provision of publicly funded GP services, including those provided under the GMS Scheme, are under consideration. I regard the existing arrangements in relation to access by GPs to public contracts as unnecessarily restrictive and it is my wish that new contractual arrangements for the provision of publicly-funded GP services should ensure that HSE contracts are open to all suitably qualified and equipped doctors.