I propose to take Questions Nos. 1019 and 1117 together.
Persons who are eligible for GP care without charge under the Health Act 1970 are not subject to any co-payments or other charges in respect of such services. There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card 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 and the HSE has advised GPs accordingly.
I am aware that, nonetheless, some GPs are charging GMS patients for phlebotomy services in some circumstances. The GP chronic disease management programme which is being phased in from this year will involve the ongoing monitoring of patients' condition and any blood tests required in this context will be covered by the fees payable for this care.
However, it remains a matter of concern to me that a GMS and GP visit card patient might be charged for blood tests which are clinically necessary and I have asked my officials to discuss with the HSE what further solutions to this issue may be possible. 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.