The lack of general practitioners means that people are not entitled to sick pay

Some people have trouble getting sick pay or certificates of ability to work because they can’t be seen by a GP.

The doctor must sign off on a person’s claim for sick pay or provide them with a certificate of return to work.

It recently emerged that only one in five GP practices can take on new patients from the general medical service (GMS) and only one in four new private patients – which shows how much patients are left without GP services.

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) said health card issuance remains the top request at its offices with over 25,000 such requests in 2021 – a similar number has been recorded so far in 2022.

“Access to GPs remains a barrier for health card holders and underscores health inequalities,” its pre-budget bill reads.

“These particularly affect migrants, diverse ethnic groups, older people, people with disabilities and low-income groups who are particularly dependent on the public health system.

“Callers who had moved to a new location within Ireland or from abroad faced particular barriers to entry. This inability to access primary care services at the local level has also impacted private patients. This issue also impacted those who required a medical certificate to access sickness benefit or a certificate of fitness to work, or to obtain a medical report from their GP for a disability payment claim.”

It also pointed to other issues that may have wider implications, including on people’s health.

The CIB said that while increases in fuel allowances are welcome this year, the combination of these measures held their value compared to the 46.7 percent inflation for household energy.

Some people who needed the fuel subsidy were unable to access it, such as those receiving unemployment benefits or supplementary welfare benefits, had to wait 15 months before qualifying, although that period will be reduced to 12 months from this month.

There were 14,251 fuel allowance requests in 2021, and the number has doubled in the first quarter of this year.

There was a 50 percent increase in inquiries related to the Household Benefits Package, which helps settle electricity or gas bills. The “key issues surrounding the fuel allowance were callers who couldn’t afford their heating bills and people’s access to it, and as such questions about eligibility in the data surfaced heavily – particularly from the groups that fell just outside the eligibility criteria for the.” were aid.

“It has been felt that eligibility for this support should be based primarily on means and not on receipt of a specific qualifying welfare payment or length of receipt of payments or conditions related to living alone or only with specific people that meet certain conditions,” it said.

“For those who did not meet the fuel allowance criteria, the problems were related to having income slightly above the means test income threshold or living with family members such as a son or daughter and earning low income.”

Others had carer’s allowance, but that’s not a qualifying payment for fuel allowance. Others received a non-qualifying Social Security payment, such as a sickness or disability benefit, but within the means-test limit.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/shortage-of-gps-leaves-people-unable-to-access-illness-benefit-42016100.html The lack of general practitioners means that people are not entitled to sick pay

Fry Electronics Team

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