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Written Answers - General Medical Services Scheme

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 474. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  if he will consider amending the prescription regime for medical card holders in order that they can have prescriptions from consultants and other services which prescribe medication filled without the necessity of a further appointment with their general practitioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6248/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall The Medical Council’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics states that “it is in the best interests of the patient that a general practitioner supervises and guides the overall management of their health”.

Medical card holders who are given a prescription by a hospital or clinic must request their GP to transcribe the details onto a GMS prescription form in order for them to receive their medication free of charge, subject to any applicable prescription charges.

[526]There is an arrangement under the GMS Scheme for the emergency supply of medicines for medical card holders on discharge from hospital. Community pharmacists are authorised to dispense a maximum of seven days supply of medicines prescribed for persons who have been in-patients in a hospital or who have attended an Emergency Department and because of the circumstances of their discharge and/or the urgency of the prescribed medication it would not be possible to attend their GP to have the hospital prescription transcribed to a GMS prescription form. This arrangement relieves any difficulties that patients might encounter due to being discharged from hospital late in the evening or at weekends.

I wish to assure the Deputy that it is best clinical practice that a person in need of treatment should regularly attend their GP and that the GP is fully aware of the medications that any patient may be being prescribed. This is entirely consistent with the gatekeeper role played by the GP in the delivery of primary care. As GPs receive an annual capitation fee per GMS patient there are no extra costs incurred by such patients.

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