HEALTH Minister James Reilly has been accused of getting his sums wrong after he claimed that 1,000 medical card patients are worth in the region of €250,000 to a GP.
Wicklow GP Dr Ray Hawkins said the figure is closer to €14,770 when all surgery expenses are taken into account.
He said a doctor is paid an annual gross state fee of €74.59 for a child under five who is on the medical card.
"Drill further into this and €74.59 gross per year, less practice expenses of 55pc, is €33.57 per child," he told the 'Irish Medical Times'.
"Deduct personal income tax of 56pc at €14.77 per child a year or €2.95 a visit – (average expected visits to be five per year). It's even better value when you give 24 hours and 365 days cover for a net of €14.77 a year."
The medic's comments come as a group of doctors is expected to meet in Dublin tonight to protest at the cuts in general practice, and the draft contracts for family doctors to cover free GP visits, drawn up by the Department of Health.
GPs across the country are calling on politicians and policy makers to end this "flawed policy and properly resource the one part of the health service that is actually working before it is too late," said Dr Stephen Murphy, GP and chair the organising committee.
A spokesman for Dr Reilly said that he had consistently said GPs will not lose out financially if the under-sixes are given free GP visits.