Written Answers. - General Medical Services Scheme.

Ivan Yates

Question:

271 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Health if he has satisfied himself that all commitments entered into by his Department in the context of the revised general medical services scheme contract have been honoured for general practitioners with specific regard to (1) pension arrangements and taxation arrangements; (2) the development of diagnostic facilities in surgeries; and (3) special item payments and compensation for expenses such as secretarial services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I am satisfied that the new terms and conditions for general practitioners providing services for eligible persons in the General Medical Services Scheme are operating effectively.

The Deputy will be aware that the first review of the new GMS contract is in progress under the Chairmanship of Mr. John Horgan, former Chairman of the Labour Court. This review is considering all aspects of the new scheme including improvements in services, the cost of drugs and referrals to hospitals. A number of discussions have taken place between the Irish Medical Organisation and the Revenue Commissioners in relation to the taxation status of the pension scheme proposed by the organisation. I understand that further representations will be made by the organisation to the Department of Finance in this regard.