Dáil Éireann - Volume 499 - 27 January, 1999

Written Answers. - General Medical Services Scheme.

528. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans, if any, he has to extend the number of doctors who partake in the general medical services scheme in view of the Government's decision to widen the scheme's availability to all citizens over 70 years and the devastating effect this could have on the practices of doctors not in the general medical services scheme which has not been amended since late 1989 when the five year rule was dropped by Government. [28328/98]

[375] Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): The implications, if any, for general practice manpower and workload of the Government's decision to widen significantly the income guidelines for medical card eligibility for persons over 70 years of age over a three year period will be monitored and considered in the light of ongoing service developments and requirements.

I should also point out that a working group, comprising representatives from my Department, the health boards, the GMS (Payments) Board and the Irish Medical Organisation, is currently considering the issue of GMS Entry generally.