Patients urged to ask GPs to display price list

Consumers have been urged to ask GPs for a price list for routine medical treatments.

The National Consumer Association (NCA) has highlighted the importance of price display at GP surgeries so that customers are fully informed as to what they are being charged for.

In cases where a price list is not displayed, consumers have been urged to ask their GP why such information is not available and whether they intend displaying prices in the future.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) recommended last November its members introduce price lists by Dec 1 this year to cover routine treatments such as consultations.

This initiative came after engagement between the NCA and the IMO and followed an NCA study in 2010 which found just half of the GPs surveyed displayed their prices.

Last month, a medical practice in Killarney sparked excitement about a GP price war in the town after it slashed its consultation fees to what the doctors feel people can afford to pay.

Dr Michael Moloney and Dr Michael O’Doherty are offering a cut-price consultation fee of €40 — up to €25 cheaper than other practices in the area.

Ann Fitzgerald, NCA chief executive, said given that the IMO’s recommendation has been in effect for three months, consumers should be seeing price lists in GP surgeries across the country. She said the NCA’s view was that pricing displays empowered consumers.

In 2011, following similar engagement with the Irish Dental Council, a code of practice was adopted by the Dental Council obliging dentists to display the prices of their routine treatments.


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