Report finds 60% of GPs in south-east not vetted by Garda

HSE audit says all GPs should get Garda clearance, regardless of when contracts began

Of 27 GPs  audited, 10 had Garda clearance but there was no evidence in the case of 17 GPs who had contracts with the HSE prior to 2007.

Of 27 GPs audited, 10 had Garda clearance but there was no evidence in the case of 17 GPs who had contracts with the HSE prior to 2007.

 

There is no evidence of Garda vetting for over 60 per cent of GPs receiving State payments in the south-east, according to a HSE internal audit report.

Of 27 GPs who were audited, 10 had Garda clearance but there was no evidence in the case of 17 GPs who had contracts with the HSE prior to 2007.

Garda vetting is a requirement of all new GP contracts, but the report said HSE community healthcare managers should as best practice consider seeking it for all GPs providing services paid for by the State, irrespective of the year in which contracts were signed.

The audit found payments totalling over €2.5 million were made to GPs in the south-east between January and August 2014 in respect of schemes covering childhood immunisation, maternity and infant care, vocational training, palliative care and the local sexual assault treatment unit.

Of 27 GPs audited, 20 were found to have valid tax clearance certificates, four had recently expired certificates and three had no certificate.

Contract documents for the childhood immunisation scheme were out-of-date in over half the cases audited.

The documents for the maternity and infant scheme stated they should be reviewed by the Minister for Health, the HSE and the Irish Medical Organisation by June 2001, but no such review took place.

Two of the 25 GPs providing the scheme who were audited have been paid over €40,000 for services since 2010 despite the fact they have no contract.

The report said there is a risk the HSE has made payments to other GPs with whom no valid contract is in place.

Contracts were generally in place for three of the five schemes. The report found that contracts, some of which date back to 1989, had not been formally reviewed.

It said the requirement to maintain separate contracts for each GP under each scheme was inefficient and not conducive to efficient management and monitoring.