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More doctors are urged to cut prices as hard-up patients flock to €35 clinic

A PATIENTS' organisation has hailed a Dublin medical centre for its successful reduction of the price of GP visits.

Park West Medical Centre in Dublin 12 has seen an influx of cash-strapped patients since it reduced appointment fees from €55 to €35 earlier this year – the cheapest GP consultations in the capital.

Director of the Centre Dr Ahmed Salmon took the decision to drop prices after consultations with The Irish Patients Association (IPA).

A spokeswoman for the IPA told the Herald today that the organisation was “very pleased” with the results of the reduction.

It was informed of dozens of patients turning up at the centre to see a GP when they would previously have been unable to due to lack of funds. However, the IPA was disappointed that the move did not encourage more clinics to offer cheaper services.

“There have been a few doctors around the country who reduced their prices by €5 or so, but not since the Park West Medical Centre made their services more affordable,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Association of Ireland (CAI) said that the medical profession should reduce its profit margin as the services it provides are essential to the public.

“Doctors have on many occasion pointed out that they are running a business but I think they need to acknowledge that this business provides far more than the average service does,” the CEO of the CAI, Dermott Jewell, told the Herald.

“The reality that most cannot afford visits, or will chose not to look after their health because of affordability of a simple fee, indicates that they have got to do something to address this.

“Even a further €5 or €10 reduction would assist patients. If [the Park West Medical Centre] had the capability to reduce their fees by €20, so it proves that it has to be possible in others.”