Written Answers. - GMS Patient Accommodation.

Bernard Allen


158 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health if he will make a statement on a recent report in the Irish Medical News by a person (details supplied) that he is ashamed of premises in which he sees most of his GMS patients and that there are roughly 4,000 patients attending his surgery which could fairly be classed as a rathole and slumlike; and if he will make every effort to ensure that surgeries being used for GMS patients are upgraded.

Under the terms of the General Medical Services contract, a general practitioner is required to "provide and maintain the following facilities for persons on his list: (a) a waiting room with a reasonable standard of comfort and hygiene, sufficient in size to accommodate the normal demands of his practice equally for both eligible and private patients with adequate seating accommodation, and (b) a surgery sufficient in size for the requirements of normal general practice, with facilities including electric light, hot and cold running water, an examination couch and other essential needs of such practice including, in the case of his main centre of practice, a telephone."

I am aware of the article to which the Deputy refers. However, I do not accept that it represents a typical set of conditions faced by most General Practitioners or their patients in the GMS scheme.

The Review of the General Medical Services, which is underway at the moment, will address the matter of practice premises and their maintenance. The Review Group, under the Chairmanship of Professor Tom Murphy has representatives of the Irish Medical Organisation, the Irish College of General Practitioners as well as representatives of Health Board and Departmental management. I expect that this Review will be completed by October of this year.