Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan jabs back at HSE flu probe

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Maurice Quinlivan, Sinn Féin, has been raising the issue of GPs’ charging for free flu jab for a number of weeks

Maurice Quinlivan, Sinn Féin, has been raising the issue of GPs’ charging for free flu jab for a number of weeks

DEPUTY Maurice Quinlivan has approached the HSE with fresh claims into GPs’ charging patients for free flu jabs, after it concluded an investigation stating that it was not an issue.

Earlier this month, the Sinn Féin TD alerted the Minister for Health Simon Harris to a case of a pensioner with a medical card being charged €15 for the flu vaccine.

The vaccine is free-of-charge for at-risk groups, including pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, healthcare staff, and those covered under free GP schemes.

After investigating the matter, the HSE stated that it was “not an issue in Limerick” after contacting their GP network.

Deputy Quinlivan wrote to the HSE saying that more people contacted the TD “to state that this is a problem”.

In the e-mail correspondence, he quoted one constituent, who claimed she was charged €30 despite being pregnant and covered under the maternity scheme.

“I saw the article about GP charges and the flu vaccine. I have a medical card and I’m pregnant so have free GP care under the Maternity scheme. I was still charged €30 for the flu vaccine despite being in a high risk category & entitled under two schemes to free GP care.

“I asked in a parenting group and other moms-to-be said it’s common and happened them too.

“I was very surprised to be charged as pregnant women are encouraged to get this vaccine by the HSE and the website says you won’t be charged if you are at risk group and medical or GP visit card holder,” the constituent wrote to Deputy Quinlivan. 

The TD wrote in the e-mail: “I am sure GPs are aware of the fact that they are not to charge people in these particular groups, so it is unsurprising that no GP admitted charging incorrectly.”