138 extra GPs enter medical card scheme
A total of 138 GPs have so far joined the medical card scheme since restrictions on newly-qualified GPs treating medical card patients were lifted back in March, according to the HSE.
Prior to the lifting of restrictions, fully trained GPs could only enter the scheme if existing medical card GP posts became vacant, or after serving as assistants to medical card GPs.
Now, any GP who satisfies training and qualification requirements can 'set up shop' as a GP in a particular area.
Health Minister James Reilly said the move would encourage more young GPs to remain in Ireland and it would make it more attractive for GPs to move here from overseas. It would also encourage competition among GPs, he said.
The HSE told irishhealth.com as at August 10, 138 GPs had entered the medical card scheme since restrictions were lifted in March.
The largest number of new GPs taking up medical card contracts haw been in the Cork-North Lee area, which has had 14 new GPs entering the scheme, followed by Galway, with 12.
Eleven new GPs have taken up duty in Dublin north-central, while nine have entered the medical card scheme in north county Dublin and four have entered the scheme in Dublin north-west. North Dublin has for some time been suffering from a GP shortage.
However, no new medical card GPs have taken up duty in Donegal, Dublin west, Roscommon or Sligo/Leitrim since the restrictions were lifted nearly six months ago.
The lifting of medical card work restrictions on newly-qualified GPs was included as a condition in Ireland's 'troika' bail-out agreement.
[Posted: Thu 16/08/2012]