BY HARRY WALSH
FAMILY doctors across Donegal earned more than €22.5 million for the care of patients under the medical card and other state schemes in 2011.
According to newly-published figues from the HSE’s Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS), 23 GPs country-wide were in the €470,000-plus earnings bracket in 2011 – dropping from 51 in 2011.
While the GPs are not named in the report Donegal, would, traditionally, have one or two doctors inside the top twenty earners country-wide.
The doctors insist that these earnings can cover a number of GPs in a particular surgery and they have to subsidise overheads.
All the doctors can also see private patients and the average family doctor fee is now around €60. However, no figures are available for this private income.
Total payments to medical card GPs in 2011 amounted to €442.6 million in 2011, compared to €465.5 million in 2010. GPs working for State schemes have had a number of fee reductions in recent years.
Pharmacists also received over €358m in fees and mark-ups for drugs and medicines dispensed to medical card and private patients. One pharmacist got more than €240,000. The overall payment to pharmacies in Donegal was €49,579,288.
Dentists in Donegal were reimbursed a total of € 2,259,661 in 2011, in respect of
treatments provided for patients under the DTS Scheme. That was broken down into 46,215 ‘Above the Line’ treatments (uncomplicated procedures like fillings and extractions) and 1,335 ‘Below the Line’ treatments (advanced procedures like protracted periodontal and prosthetics).
According to the report there were 95 GPs, 60 Pharmacists, 43 Dentists and 18 Optometrists with patients under the medical card and other state schemes in Donegal in 2011.
The number of eligible persons for the General Medical Scheme in Donegal was 88,102 with GP Visit Card Sceme (7,049) Drug Payment Scheme (32,942) and Long Term Illness Scheme (1,538).