The Chairman of the GP Committee of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said the new figures released by the HSE regarding payments for medical card patients are "totally misleading."
In a statement this evening, the Chairman of the GP Committee said that criticism directed towards doctors regarding HSE payments made to GP practices "does not reflect the true reality of the situation."
Dr. Denis McCauley said: "This is a totally misleading figure and does not take into account the significant costs GPs incur in running their practices – including staff costs, insurance, the cost of the premises itself and other related costs of running a business.
"Each year the HSE provide figures with no context and with the personal details of GPs which is simply unacceptable.”
Dr McCauley criticised the lack of context provided with the HSE figures and said: "This kind of spin from the HSE, with no context or acknowledgement of the significant efforts of GPs who deliver 25 million consultations each year, does nothing for morale and is certainly not indicative of a collaborative approach to the delivery of healthcare in the community.
“Covid-19 has emphasised the crucial importance of GPs to the health system, who are doing an extraordinary amount of work in unprecedented circumstances.
"The implication that this money goes directly to GPs is very unfair and it is regrettable that we have to emphasise this point yet again.”
51 GPs received over €500k last year treating medical card patients
GPs were paid nearly over €589m for treating medical card patients last year.
Fifty-one doctors received over €500,000 each.
Details released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal over 2,900 GPs across Ireland were paid a total of €589.2m under the medical-card scheme last year.
This includes practice-support payments they received from the Health Service Executive.
Four Dublin-based GPs got more than €690,000 euro each.
Dr Austin O'Carroll, a Dublin city GP, got €974,000, including practice support.
Dr O'Carroll says that the figure is not an accurate reflection of how much he got.
"That is the figure for my whole practice," he explained.
He added that the practice has over 2,500 patients and also runs homeless services.
"Altogether, I have over 12 GPs working for me as well as other nursing and administrative staff."
Over 190 GPs got more than €400,000, and the average payment to a doctor was €200,000.
Separately, dentists were paid €56m in medical card payments last year, and pharmacies got nearly €400m.