From this week, private patients who consult their family doctor about Covid-19 no longer have a free service and pay a regular doctor’s fee.
It is the first time since the start of the pandemic that patients will be billed as the HSE has been subsidizing GP visits from Covid since 2020.
And in some cases, GPs can even test at-risk patients for Covid free of charge in their practice, instead of referring them to a testing centre.
The Department of Health has said Ireland’s public health strategy for treating Covid is now moving from a response based on infection testing and tracing to reduce transmission to a mitigation phase focused on reducing the impact of Covid on human health. reduction of people most at risk.
“As a result of the successful Covid vaccination programme, almost 97pc of the population have received their primary course of vaccines,” said a statement from the department. The protection offered by vaccines and booster doses means that for the vast majority of people Covid is a mild disease which can be easily managed at home,” reports Independent.
The department said contingency measures introduced in March 2020, which saw remote consultations, referrals to community testing centers and Covid respiratory clinic consultations made available free to all, were now stopped.
“Patients with GP visit cards and medical cards will not be affected by this change,” it added. “GPs will no longer refer patients to one of the 29 community testing centres but the HSE’s self-referral portal for tests at these centres remains open,” reports Independent.
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