Thursday 19 September 2019

Revealed: Top earning GP practice in medical card scheme made over €1.1m last year

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Eilish O’Regan

The top earning GP practice in the medical card scheme made over €1.1m last year.

The practice in Tallaght in south west Dublin is run by Dr Andrew Jordan, chairman of the National Association of General Practitioners.

The HSE said today the payments worth €551m were made under the scheme to GPs last year – up from €453m in 2014.

However, Dr Jordan said the payment had to be put in practice and pointed out it is a gross sum which covers the running of a business with a large staff including six doctors and nurses.

“We provide a seven day service and do not rely on an out of hours service,” he said. He services some of the most deprived areas of the city.

The figure includes practice supports which are given to GPs to help employ nurses.

The second highest earner is Dr Austin O Carroll who also runs a large practice in the north inner city in Dublin which includes services to patients suffering drug addiction and the homeless.

Dr O’ Carroll’s practice which employs a large staff had a gross income of €903,176 which includes around €100,000 in practice supports.

The third highest earner was Dr Catherine Coleman who has a practice in north west Dublin. The fourth highest earner was Dr Andrew Coady who also works in Tallaght.

Outside of Dublin the highest earner was Dr Michael Casey who has a practice in Galway .

The Irish Medical Organisation and the National Association of General Practitioners criticised the HSE for releasing the payments.

Padraig McGarry, Chairman of the IMO GP Committee, said that the figures provided by the HSE were utterly misleading and implied that GPs were receiving much more income than was actually the case.

“The figures are gross figures which take no account of the substantial costs incurred by GPs in providing services including cost of premises, staff, technology, insurance and every other business cost that they are liable for.”

Dr McGarry said that the GPs engaged in over 25 million clinical consultations a year and over €160m had been taken out of GP services since the financial crisis.

NAGP Chief Executive Mr. Chris Goodey said: “The release of these figures in isolation provides a misleading impression that this is what GPs earn. The fees indicated by the HSE fund the salaries of the GP employees, practice nurses and administration staff, the cost of premises, insurance, technology, supplies, insurance, light and heat, consumables, etc. The manner in which the fees are published fail to highlight this.

“GPs receive, on average, €9 per month for each medical card patient irrespective of whether they attend once or 10 times over that month. The reality is that these payments do not cover the cost of that care.

“We are disappointed that the HSE has released these grossly-misleading figures. It is an issue that we will be reporting to the Data Protection Commissioner.

“Funding into general practice does not represent the take-home pay of GPs. GMS funding in general practice covers care for all patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year under the existing GMS contract.

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