The general medical services scheme contract precludes participating general practitioners from seeking or accepting payment from their medical card patients in respect of normal treatment services. This includes the issuing of prescriptions. If the Deputy is aware of specific cases, I would be most anxious that he return to me with the details, which my Department will then refer to the relevant health board for a thorough investigation. There are a number of general practitioners, previously providing services solely to private patients who are awaiting the requisite clearance to allow them formal acceptance into the GMS scheme, who may be charging patients consultation fees. However, we understand from the Irish Medical Organisation that they have asked their members not to charge patients in the interim period.