Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Health
General Practitioner Data
629. To ask the Minister for Health if his Department is notified of the number of general practitioner practices that are not in a position to accept new patients to their patient list; if so, if the information will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2978/20]
GPs are independent practitioners who hold contracts with the HSE for the provision of services to medical card and GP visit card holders. The HSE does not collect data in relation to the number of GP’s who are not in a position to accept new GMS or private patients onto their patient lists.
The GMS GP contract stipulates that the maximum number of medical card or GP visit card patients that a GP can have on his/her panel is 2,000, or 2,200 if the GP also holds an under 6 contract, except for in exceptional circumstances where the HSE decides to apply a higher limit. As of 1stof March 2020, only6 of the 2,486 GMS contract holders in the country have reached or exceeded the 2,200 maximum patient limit and the average panel size for GPs was832 GMS patients.
Where a GMS patient experiences difficulty in finding a GP to accept him/her as a patient, the HSE has the power to assign that person to a GP's GMS patient list where the person has unsuccessfully applied to at least three GPs in the area who hold GMS contracts.
People who do not hold a medical card or GP visit card access GP services on a private basis and can make enquiries directly to any GP practice they wish to register with.
As private contractors, it is a matter for each individual GP to decide whether to accept additional private patients. In some instances, GP practices have a full list of patients and cannot take on new patients. If this happens, patients should contact other GP practices in their area. While I have no role in relation to such matters, I would expect clinicians to consider the importance of patients having access to a GP service close to home when deciding whether or not to accept private patients.