Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Health
Medical Card Reviews
642. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to include the costs of blood tests for holders of medical cards under the provisions and benefits of the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3060/20]
The provision of routine phlebotomy services (blood tests) without charge to persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card is already included under the current GMS contract. However, I am aware that some GPs are charging GMS patients for phlebotomy services in some circumstances.
Under the terms of the GMS contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients with ''all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which general practitioners cannot reasonably be expected to possess." There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for medical card or GP visit card holders to be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP which are required to either assist in the diagnosis of illness or the treatment of a condition.
The HSE has advised GPs that where a blood test forms part of the investigation or necessary treatment of a patient’s symptoms or conditions, this should be free of charge for patients who hold a medical card or GP visit card.
If a patient who holds a medical card or GP visit card believes he or she has been incorrectly charged for routine phlebotomy services by his or her GP, then that patient should report the matter to their HSE Local Health Office.