Doctors in GMS paid average of £59,000

 

DOCTORS in the general medical scheme (GMS) received over £59,000 on average last year. They were paid over £95.4 million in fees and allowances, according to the annual report of the GMS (payments) Board.

The report, to be published next month, will show an increase of almost £3.5 million over the State's GMS bill for the previous year, and an increase of about £2,100 for each of the 1,600 doctors in the scheme. Some doctors on the GMS panel have as few as 50 medical card patients while the bigger panels run to 2,500 patients.

The industrial relations director of the Irish Medical Organisation, Mr Conal Devine, said doctors in the GMS scheme did not generally have much other income.

He said GPs' costs had risen significantly - for medical insurance and employing over 2,000 practice staff. "They would be averaging about £40,000 a year after they have paid their expenses," he said.

The GMS report is expected to show that doctors were paid £68.5 million in fees. The balance of the £95.4 million, £26.9 million, was spent on doctors' allowances under their GMS contract which include annual leave, sick leave, study leave and allowance for employing a practice nurse.

Over the past five years GMS figures have shown a rise in annual income for doctors in the scheme of about 5 per cent.