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27/09/2021

Welfare bosses cool GP illness benefit row in Longford and further afield

GP Row

The Department of Social Protection has attempted to downplay claims of a rift between it and GPs over the introduction of a new scheme relating to illness benefit

The Department of Social Protection has attempted to downplay claims of a rift between it and GPs over the introduction of a new scheme relating to illness benefit.

Correspondence leaked to the Leader last week had showed how patients in at least one locally based medical service were told they would have to pay a €10 charge for medical certificates with the new system if rolled out.

In response to those claims, the Department confirmed it had introduced a new claim form called IB1 and a new medical certificate, otherwise known as an MED1.

It maintained any older forms which had been sent in would still be accepted, insisting patients were not obliged to pay any fee for medical related documentation.

“All GPs have received stocks of the new forms over the past month,” read the statement.

“The Department will continue to accept the old MC1 and MC2 forms for the time being, but we will not be issuing any further supplies of the old forms.

“GPs are therefore requested to begin using the new IB1 and MED1 forms as soon as possible. GPs can continue to certify patients under the current certification process - for one, four, or 26 weeks – using the new forms. A new on-line service for GPs to re-order supplies of the new certificates directly is available to them.”

No customer, the Department stressed, has been unable to claim an illness benefit payment by reason of a GP using the previous form. Medical practitioners using stocks of previous forms will be paid as usual by the Department, a spokesperson added.

“The Department wishes to confirm that, as before, patients do not need to pay a fee to receive the new IB1 and MED1 forms from their doctor, as the Department pays the doctor an agreed fee to provide them.”

Interestingly, the Department did not address concerns relayed in last week's issue which intimated a number of GPs locally were still awaiting clarification over a number of issues.

Among them, according to documentation seen by this newspaper, surround (General Data Protection Regulation), patient privacy and confidentiality.

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