Five family doctor practices each received HSE payments totalling over €600,000 in 2012, including two practices that received payments in excess of €700,000.
According to statistics released by the HSE in response to a Freedom of Information request, they show that Dublin GP Dr Austin O’Carroll received the highest amount (€795,414) in 2012.
The figures show that another Dublin doctor, Dr Andrew Jordan — who runs practices in Tallaght and Terenure, was paid €753,311.
The report shows that payments through the medical card system to doctors increased by €14m, to €483m in 2012, as the numbers on medical cards reached record numbers.
Twenty-three practices got in excess of €500,000; 91 GPs earned between €500,000 and €400,000, and a further 334 GPs got between €400,000 and €300,000.
A further 664 doctors got between €300,000 and €200,000, with 630 receiving payments between €200,000 and €100,000.
Former Fianna Fáil Minister, Co Donegal-based Jim McDaid, received €221,976 in Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) payments in 2012 while Wexford Fine Gael TD, Dr Liam Twomey received payments of €51,753.
Chairman of the GP Committee of the Irish Medical Organisation, Dr Ray Whalley, said yesterday: “Before the GP is paid a single cent out of this income they must first pay a range of business expenses, including rent, rates, light and heat, vital and expensive medical equipment, nurses, secretaries and more. The GP is the last to receive a payment from these monies.
And despite some of the dramatic headlines these create, the fact remains that a GP receives an average of just €10 per month per medical card patient regardless of how often that patient attends the GP.”
Dr Whalley got €343,108 in medical card payments in 2012 and he said that “GP numbers had failed to match population growth and growth in GMS (Medical Card) numbers in recent years.
He said: “Over 1,000 GPs who had qualified in Ireland have begun working with the NHS over the last five years. That’s the equivalent of about seven years output of Irish trained GPs that are going straight to the UK. A further 200 or more GPs currently working in Ireland are close to or beyond, normal retirement age and are expected to leave the service in the coming years further exacerbating the situation.”
A brief circulated to GPs by the IMO on the reality of GP practice in 2014, states that the “morale of GP practice is broken.”
The briefing note points out that the average price for a GMS patient in 2008 was €323/patient per annum and now following the latest cut, it is €200/patient in 2014.
Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) payments to GPs in 2012 — top earners:
North West Dublin: Dr Austin O’Carroll — €795,414
Dublin South West: Dr Andrew Jordan — €751,829
North West Dublin: Dr Catherine Coleman — €618,269
North Dublin: Dr Anthony Crosby — €584,904
Kerry: Dr Donal Coffey — €518,599
North Cork: Dr Thomas J Molloy — €504,307
Cork — South Lee: Dr Patrick Joseph Turner — €451,474
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