Dáil Éireann - Volume 533 - 28 March, 2001

Written Answers. - Medical Cards.

139. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children the regulations with regard to people on medical cards who are sent agency doctors that they must pay when they seek a house visit during night hours; if it is in order for agency doctors to charge; if a refund should be sought from the general practitioner; if a refund should be sought elsewhere; if so, if the process can be outlined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9314/01]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Under no circumstances should a medical card holder be charged for a domiciliary visit by his or her general practitioner whether undertaken by the contract holder or an agency doctor acting on his or her behalf. General practitioners are obliged, under the terms of their GMS contract with the health board for the provision of service to medical card holders, to provide adequate cover for out of hours service for these patients. If the Deputy is aware of any inappropriate charging for such visits, I would be very anxious that he provide details to me and my Department and I will have it investigated by the primary care unit of the relevant health board. Any remedial or disciplinary action can and would be taken at the time should that be warranted.