The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) has warned the HSE that it intends to complain to the Data Protection Commission (DPC) after it released details of the doctors who earn most under its Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS).

The highest earning doctor is the association’s chairman, Andrew Jordan, Dublin South West, who received in excess of €1.1m gross last year, which includes practice support. Jordan employs 26 staff and treats 10,000 GMS (General Medical Services) patients.

The HSE defended its decision to release the data, saying it did so on foot of an FOI request: “Clearly the HSE has a legal obligation [pursuant to the FOI Act 2014] to release records/information as requested and as appropriate.

 HSE is satisfied that data protection legislation allows for the release of this information under FOI.”

The payments relate to fees for medical card patients and GP visit cards and practice support. The overall figure for 2017 was €551m.

Padraig McGarry, chairman of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) GP Committee, said the figures provided by the HSE “implied that GPs were receiving much more income than was actually the case”.

“The figures are gross figures which take no account of the substantial costs incurred by GPs in providing services including the cost of premises, staff, technology, insurance and every other business cost that they are liable for,” he said.

Dr McGarry said GPs engage in more than 25m clinical consultations a year and more than €160m has been taken out of GP services since the financial crisis.

The IMO is currently in negotiation with the HSE and Department of Health on GP funding “and unless significant investment is forthcoming, general practice will fail”, Dr McGarry said.

NAGP chief executive Chris Goodey said GPs receive “on average, €9 per month for each medical card patient irrespective of whether they attend once or 10 times over that month”.

“The reality is that these payments do not cover the cost of that care,” he said.

Via the Irish Examiner

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