,Limerick East): Regulations relating to the general medical services (GMS) scheme stipulate that, in so far as is practicable, a person availing himself of the service shall have a choice of medical practitioner.
A condition relating to this choice is that the doctor concerned must be practising within seven miles of the patient's place of residence. Exceptions may be permitted to this condition, for example, in remote areas where the distances involved would make its application impracticable. In addition, the doctor concerned must not already have a full list of patients and he-she must be willing to accept the person as a patient.
Within the parameters mentioned above, medical card holders have always had the right to change their doctor of choice under the scheme.
The responsibility for the provision of services under the GMS rests with the health boards. Posts in the GMS are filled by open competition. Health boards operate an equal opportunities policy in their competitions for these posts which are open to all suitably qualified candidates.