On Budget Day, it was announced that the fees and allowances payable to certain health professionals will be reviewed. The professionals concerned are General Practitioners, Pharmacists, Dentists, Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians who hold contracts with the HSE, Smeartakers contracted under the CervicalCheck programme and Consultant Psychiatrists who hold contracts with the Mental Health Commission. On 13 December 2012, the Department of Health placed a notice in the National newspapers and on the Department’s website advising that a review of payments to the above health professionals was being carried out under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. Interested parties were invited to provide written submissions by Friday, 4 January 2013. The consultation period ended on 11 January 2013.
Detailed consideration of the various submissions is still ongoing. Following careful consideration of submissions made during the review and having due regard to Section 9 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) Act 2009, the Minister for Health will decide whether any reductions in fees/allowances will be made, and, if so, the scale of reductions that would be fair and reasonable in the circumstances. Should the Minister decide that reductions are warranted, Regulations will be made under the FEMPI Act with the approval of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.