HSE has announced that GPs will now have increased direct access to radiology diagnostics, including DEXA via an outsourced service model. The outsourced service will be provided by a number of private companies and hospitals (see list below) and will provide GPs with direct access to at least an additional 95,000 radiology scans in 2021.
This rollout immediately addresses the difficulties that GPs face in accessing radiology diagnostics; difficulties which have been further compounded by COVID-19. By increasing GP direct access to scans, diagnostics capacity in the community is increased and hospital avoidance can be facilitated.
What scan types are included? DEXA, X-ray and a selection of MRI and CT scans.
What private providers are included? Affidea, Alliance Medical, Global Diagnostics, Bon Secours Tralee and UPMC Whitfield
How are referrals made? Referrals can be made to all private providers (except Global Diagnostics) by submitting an e-referral using the General Referral Form on Healthlink web portal or via your accredited practice management software. Referral to Global Diagnostics, can be made by email referrals to email@example.com or use the secure ‘fax to email’ line at 01 5313425.
Who pays for Scans? The private providers will bill the HSE directly on a monthly basis for medical card and GP visit card patients.
What if my patient does not attend? The HSE may be charged for scans where patients do not attend or cancel within 24 hours of their scheduled appointment. If a patient does not attend their scheduled appointment, no further appointment will be scheduled. You will need to submit the referral again if the patient still needs the scan. Please emphasise to your patient the importance of attending their scheduled appointment.
Waiting Times for scans (including DEXA): This system will greatly reduce waiting times, patients you judge to be urgent should be seen within one month from the referral date and routine patients should be seen within a maximum of three months from the referral date.
How will I receive the report? Alliance Medical, Affidea and Bon Secours Tralee will return the report to you via Healthlink within 72 hours. UPMC Whitfield will return the report via BEAM. Global Diagnostics will return the report via fax, post or healthmail.