From Declan Breathnach, TD  18th May 2016

159. To ask the Minister for Health if general practitioners can charge for a blood test from a patient who is a holder of a medical card; to expedite the reimbursement of the blood test receipts submitted from a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10805/16]

From Minister Simon Harris Department of Health

Persons covered by the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme should not be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP, or the Practice Nurse on behalf of the GP, which are required to either assist in the diagnosis of illness or the treatment of a condition.

Consultation fees charged by GPs outside the terms of the GMS contract are a matter of private contract between the clinicians and the patients. While I have no role in relation to such fees, I would expect clinicians to have regard to the overall economic situation in setting their fees.

The Department of Health and the HSE are cognisant of the need for a new contract with GPs that will help modernise our health service and develop a strengthened primary care sector and negotiations are underway with the Irish Medical Organisation in this regard. The development of appropriate contractual arrangements in relation to the management of chronic conditions and issues such as phlebotomy services are amongst the significant issues to be considered during the contractual talks.

In relation to the reimbursement of receipts for the individual concerned, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this issue. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my private office and they will follow up the matter with them.