Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Questions (246)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

246. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if a full assessment has been carried out on the possible impact on the health services as a result of the FEMPI measures being implemented, if he will detail same and the actions being taken to counteract increased pressure on services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41240/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A review was carried out earlier this year under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) Act 2009 in relation to the operation, effectiveness and impact of the amounts and rates payable to certain health professionals under the relevant Regulations. The professionals concerned were 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.

Having carefully considered the submissions made during the consultation process, the Minister for Health decided to make the following reductions: an overall reduction of 7.5% in fees and allowances payable to GPs under the GMS Scheme, Immunisation Schemes, HeartWatch and the Maternity & Infant Care Scheme; the elimination of the 20% retail mark-up to Community Pharmacists in respect of items dispensed under the Drug Payment Scheme, the Long Term Illness Scheme, the European Economic Area Scheme and the Health (Amendment) Act 1996 Scheme; a 3% reduction in fees paid to Consultant Ophthalmologists; a 3% reduction in fees paid to Consultant Psychiatrists who hold contracts with the Mental Health Commission.

The following Regulations have been prepared to give effect to the Minister’s decisions and these came into effect on 24 July 2013: S.I. 277/2013 - Health Professionals (Reduction of Payments to General Practitioners) Regulations 2013; S.I. 278/2013 - Health Professionals (Reduction of Payments to General Practitioners) (National Immunisation Programmes) Regulations 2013; S.I. 279/2013 - Health Professionals (Reduction of Payments to Community Pharmacy Contractors) Regulations 2013; S.I. 274/2013 - Health Professionals (Reduction in payments to Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians) Regulations 2013; S.I. 276/2013 - Health Professionals (Reduction of Payments to Consultant Psychiatrists) Regulations 2013.

Under the FEMPI legislation, the Minister for Health is required to carry out a review of the operation, effectiveness and impact of the amounts and rates fixed under the regulations each year. This will involve a full consultation with stakeholders in 2014.