A Third Of Cash Strapped People Have Avoided A GP Visit

A Third Of Cash Strapped People Have Avoided A GP Visit

01 August 2013

More than a third of Irish people have avoided a GP visit over the last 12 months as a result of financial constraints-a new survey has revealed.

The survey, conducted on behalf of GP Now, has revealed the true extent of the economic downturn on hard-pressed families with more than 32pc saying they have foregone a visit to their family doctor over the last 12 months owing to finances.

GP Now is a popular new service rolling out nationwide, providing unlimited GP visits to the general public on a membership basis.

It is aimed at driving down primary healthcare costs while simultaneously improving patient experience.

Worryingly, the research also revealed 6pc of parents simply could not afford to bring a sick child to the doctor over the past 12 months.

The survey, conducted by Call Management, one of Ireland’s leading market research centres, discovered 56pc of those surveyed paid more than €50 per GP visit.

Despite these soaring costs the survey also revealed more than 40pc of those polled have been kept waiting in their doctor’s surgery for longer than 30 minutes before being seen.

When it came to the Government’s election promise to introduce free GP care for all, 90pc of those surveyed said they did not believe universal free GP care will come to fruition over the next five years.

General Manager of GP Now Tristan Healy said: “Patients are paying more for basic healthcare than ever, despite pre-election promises to provide universal GP care and make services more affordable. Instead of services becoming more affordable, many elements of the health system are now more expensive as a raft of charges and increases mount up. It is a major concern that members of the public are avoiding vital GP visits because of finances, especially for their children.”

Currently operating two clinics in Dublin and one in Cork the popular GP Now service has grown exponentially in the past two years and now has almost 7500 members.

With conventional GP visits running at €40 to €70 a visit, GP Now memberships have been extremely popular with young families previously forced to shell out large sums of money on doctor’s visits for their children.

On this basis, the average family with a monthly trip to the GP can save up to €360 a year.

As the very first service of its kind in this country, GP Now provides a service which is only available to its members so it follows that the numbers in the waiting room are greatly reduced, and patients are more likely to get the exact appointment time they request.

GP Now members pay a low monthly or annual subscription depending on age and family status; there are 3 low-cost packages available:

Ø  A family of 2 adults and up to 3 children will pay €30 per month, or €360 per annum.

Ø  Individuals under the age of 55 will pay €15 per month, or €180 per annum.

Ø  Over 55 members will pay only €10 per month, or €120 per annum.

Monthly membership also incurs a once-off registration fee of only €25, while there is no registration fee for those paying upfront for the year.

Details of membership and how to be part of the revolution in GP Care are available at www.gpnow.ie or contact the membership team on 01 9056000.