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Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers. - Dispensary Doctor System.

Thursday, 29 September 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 3

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57.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan asked the Minister [445] for Health if his recent statement that local authorities have indicated their preference for the dispensary doctor system will mean a change in the policy indicated by his predecessor in a recent White Paper.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan Zoom on Seán Flanagan I think that, to clarify this matter, it would be well to put on the records of the House the relevant part of the text of the statement issued after I had visited some county councils to discuss the White Paper on the Health Services and their Further Development. This read:

One topic which received much attention at these meetings was the proposal that a choice of doctor should be offered in the general medical service and the distinction between the public and private patients of the doctor eliminated. The principle of this was generally welcomed, but many of the local councillors expressed the view that, outside the urban areas, there could be no real choice and that, in making any changes, great care would have to be taken to make sure that a service at least as good as that available in the rural areas under the present dispensary system would continue to be available under any new system. In fact, many councillors were of opinion that in such areas the present system should not be changed.

No change has been decided on in the policy on this matter set out in the White Paper. I am continuing my discussions with local health authorities and expect to conclude them in the next few weeks. If, after consideration has been given to the varied views of local councillors, it seems to the Government that any modification or clarification of the White Paper proposals in this respect is desirable, I will make an appropriate statement in the House. I can say, now, however, that there will be no departure from the fundamental principles that a choice of doctor in the general medical service should be available where this is practicable and that the present distinction between public and private patients should be eliminated as far as possible.


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