FIANNA Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has expressed grave concern over the increasing number of patients claiming that they have had to pay their GP’s for blood tests.
“It was recently brought to my attention by a number of individuals about the practice of charging Medical Card and GP card holders for routine blood tests. It was apparent that this practice is occurring throughout the country.
“I raised this issue with Minister Shorthall as it was my understanding that these routine tests were covered under the GMS scheme and the patients by their very nature are on a limited income. In response to the Parliamentary Questions that I put down it is clearly evident that this practice is wrong.
“As a result of my enquiries the HSE has been instructed to write to all GP’s to remind them that this exercise falls outside their obligations under the contract for services such as phlebotomy. While this practice is not widespread any charging of hard pressed patients is unacceptable.
“Where someone believes that they have been unfairly charged for diagnostic or monitoring blood tests then they can seek a refund from the GP in question or go directly to the HSE and formal complaints will be dealt with through the HSE’s Consumer Affairs Service.”