IMO calls on Minister Shortall to cease public confusion over routine blood tests
Irish Medical Organisation

IMO calls on Minister Shortall to cease public confusion over routine blood tests

13th February 2012


IMO CALLS ON MINISTER FOR STATE, ROISIN SHORTALL TO CEASE PUBLIC CONFUSION OVER ROUTINE BLOOD TESTS 

The Irish Medical Organisation is calling on Minister for State, Roisin Shortall to correct public statements claiming routine Phlebotomy Services are free to patients who have medical cards. 

IMO GP Chairman, Dr. Mary Gray said; “General Practitioners have no contractual obligation under the GMS Contract to provide Routine Phlebotomy Services for GMS patients and the IMO have made this position clear to relevant Government departments.” 
 
“This position was notified to the Department of Health & Children in 2009 and 2010 in IMO Submissions on the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act. The matter was further clarified in correspondence with the Minister for Health & Children.”
 
“It was not a matter of dispute between the parties and we therefore strongly reject any suggestion that GPs are acting outside of the terms of the GMS Contract.”
 
The provision of phlebotomy services is an obligation for the HSE under the Health Act which also has a responsibility to advise patients where they are available. This has further been highlighted in an ombudsman’s report on the issue. In cases where GPs provide these services it is a matter for them to decide on what basis they are provided. 
 
Dr. Gray said; “As medicine has progressed over the past two decades there has been a significant increase in the demand for additional services not covered by the GMS Contract. These demands include:
o Blood tests that arise from third parties for the management of chronic illness i.e. Diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Warfarin Management and Oncology
o Patient-led requests for routine blood tests and screening
o Blood tests that arise as a result of pre-OPD, pre-admission and post-discharge hospital protocols
o Chronic Disease management
o Women’s and Men’s Health Clinic Visits
o Dressings 
o 24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring
 
She said; “Widespread public confusion caused by imprecise public statements results in undue stress for patients and also places General Practitioners in a position of undue, inappropriate and avoidable conflict with their patients.”
 
For further information contact:
Maria Murphy
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Irish Medical Organisation
10 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2
Tel: (01)  676 7273
 

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