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Illegal medical charges raise my blood pressure

OUR warning of the week goes to those GPs who are still charging medical card patients for routine blood tests.

Not only do they risk losing their hefty grant from the HSE but it's not fair on the poorest of patients under their care.

Some 30 complaints have been made so far of doctors charging up to €20 just to take routine blood for conditions such as diabetes and cancer, and it's not allowed. They already get €30,000 a year from the taxpayer to employ a nurse to do this but are pleading poverty.

If you've been charged unfairly, don't hesitate to let the HSE know. GPs have a union they can call on if they feel they're unfairly treated -- sick patients don't.

Separately, if you're a private patient, don't waste €50 getting the flu jab from the doc -- from this week many pharmacists are licensed to give it from €20 (Unicare) to €30 (Boots).

If you have a medical card, are over 65 or have a medical condition, it is free but you may have to visit your GP.