IMO Disputes Department of Health claims in respect of cuts to fees paid to GPs to deliver services
True Number is 38% Cuts
It was reported on Morning Ireland that a Department of Health briefing paper, supplied to RTE, stated that the cuts to GP fees under FEMPI amounted to 24% while the IMO has stated that the series of cuts amounted to 38%.
Since 2009 GPs providing services to patients who have a medical card or a doctor only visit card have suffered three cuts to fees and supports under FEMPI and reductions to fees to care for those over 70. These cuts have had varying affects depending on the type of practice and the location of practice, for example in rural areas or those GPs with a high number of nursing home patients the cuts are actually over 40%. The average cut across all GP services is 38%.
In 2014 total GMS payments were €424,646,000 and cuts imposed to that date totalled €160m which equates to a 37.7% cut. While since that date new services for Under 6s and Diabetic Patients have been introduced this new funding does not negate the impact of FEMPI cuts as it was for new work not existing services.
These cuts were made under FEMPI and have never been restored, despite the restoration of FEMPI having been agreed with all public servants.
The cumulative effects of these cuts, as highlighted by the IMO are:
- GPs unable to take on new patients
- Patients having to wait for longer to be seen
- Practices closing down and communities being left without a GP
- No new practices establishing as younger GPs choose to emigrate to systems that support modern practice