Yes, I believe the cost is prohibitive. If a standard consultation takes 10 minutes, that would mean the doc is on 300 euro an hour, which I think is just a wee bit excessive.
Also, because Ireland has no sick pay laws, many minimum wage employers don't pay for the first three days, which means that those on the minimum wage have to forgo 3 days pay, and pay a days wages to see the doctor to get a note, so they can go back to work. Three cheers for the Celtic Tiger!
Personally, I have found a happy solution. My doctor is decrepit and his memory isn't what it used to be, so I just tell him I'll pay him next week. The downside to this is that he's a rubbish doctor, but it does the job when all a man needs is a sick note.
If you had bothered to read my post you would see that I did change doctors. It cost me money to learn that my previous doctor was incompetent though, and there was absolutely no guarantee that the new guy would be any better.
A lot of people are stupid and do stay with incompetent doctors. The sort of people that think being charged a substantial amount of money to be told to go to the hospital only to find out there was nothing wrong is 'a result'.
I think a sub-issue which is really important is the way people avoid the cost, which is prohibitive, by using a medical card. I know someone who brings their kids to the doctor for a cold, because if a doctor prescribes a lemsip, she can get it off the medical card. What is needed is a middle ground where nearly everyone pays a lower fee, with only very, very etreme cases paying nothing
Maybe I am lucky in that I have a GP who isn't in the habit of sticking his patients for every penny he can get and also is an excellent doctor. Being sick last summer a total of 4 visits with 4 sicknotes cost me a grand total of €135. he didn't even charge me on the last visit cos he reckoned I had paid enough already. So don't tar them all with the one brush.
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