Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Ceisteanna (138, 139)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

269 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the estimated cost of the extension of the general medical services scheme to all persons under 18. [25134/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

270 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the estimated average annual cost to the Exchequer of each medical card issued. [25135/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

I propose to take questions Nos. 269 and 270 together.

On the basis of the figures contained in the 2003 annual report of the GMS payments board the current cost of extending medical card coverage to include all those aged up to 18 years is in the region of €116 million. This figure relates to fees paid to general practitioners, the costs of drugs and medicines and fees paid to pharmacists. There would also be other associated costs with a medical card such as the dental and ophthalmic schemes. However, this does not take account of any costs, which might result from industrial relations negotiations and any fee increases for the service providers involved.

The 2003 annual report of the GMS payments board indicates that the overall average annual cost of a medical card in respect of general practitioner and pharmacist services provided was €809.48 per person in 2003.