GPs charge us for blood tests paid for by HSE
DOCTORS are charging patients for blood tests that are already being paid for by the HSE.
Family doctors charge between €40 and €60 for a consultation and many then ask for another €20 to €60 for a blood test.
Some doctors also ask for a second consultation fee when the patient comes back to get the results of the test.
The HSE has confirmed that GPs are given the equipment they need to carry out blood tests including syringes, vials, paperwork and a test collection and delivery service.
The total cost of primary care hospital tests runs to more than €370m a year and this is part of the HSE budget.
A spokesperson said: "GPs are not required to make a contribution towards this service other than the cost arising for the practice in the time taken by the doctor or nurse in taking the blood, such costs being covered by the practice income."
In relation to collection and delivery of samples, the HSE said: "There are different arrangements throughout the country for the collection of samples.
"Laboratory results are sent electronically to practices which have the technical capability to receive them in this format. For those who are not technically compliant, the results are sent manually."
Labour election candidate Michael McNamara has called for the Comptroller and Auditor General to review fees paid to the medical profession in the light of the latest revelations.
"I can understand GPs charging a consultation fee but clearly it is wrong if they also charge for blood testing on top of that if the cost is discharged by the HSE. Fees being paid to the medical profession, no more than fees to the legal profession of which I am a member, will have to be reviewed in order to achieve the greatest possible efficiencies across all sectors that are now required.
"It would certainly seem inordinate that kind of money is being spent on this service."
HSE Health Forum member, Clare Councillor Brian Meaney, said: "What is at question here is whether the charge levied by GPs to take blood is necessary and fair?"