Patients told to seek blood test refunds
HEALTH chiefs are encouraging medical card patients who have been "inappropriately" charged for routine blood tests by their GP to request a refund.
The HSE has written to GPs operating under the General Medical Services contract warning them that they should not be billing patients for phlebotomy services.
But the Irish Medical Organisation, which represents doctors, appears at odds with the Government over the issue.
It said there was no contractual obligation under the GP contract to provide routine phlebotomy services. It argued that it was up to GPs to decide whether or not they charged a patient for a blood test.
Junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall, in response to a parliamentary question, said under the GP contract, medics were not allowed to bill patients for the procedure when it was needed to diagnose a person's condition or monitor their health.
"The HSE is encouraging eligible patients who believe they have been inappropriately charged . . . to seek a refund from the GP in question," she said.