Over 700,000 directly referred community radiology diagnostic scans completed

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Over 700,000 directly referred community radiology diagnostic scans have been completed since the launch of the General Practitioner Access to Community Diagnostics (GPACD) Scheme in January 2021.

Demand for community radiology diagnostics delivered through the scheme has more than doubled since it launched in 2021, according to Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly  

There were 138,000 radiology scans were undertaken in 2021 (vs. target of 94,000); 250,000 in 2022 (vs. target 195,000); and over 331,000 (vs. target 240,000) in 2023.

The budget for the GPACD scheme has increased from €25 million in 2021 to €46.8m million in 2023,  with a total allocation of €47.9m allocated for continued provision of the scheme this year.

The Minister launched the scheme in January 2021 to enable easier GP and patient access to a suite of radiology scans. Under the scheme, GPs can refer patients directly for tests including X-ray, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at no cost to the patient, with access to the scheme available to the full adult population.

Patients attend convenient locations in the community setting to access these radiology diagnostics at facilities located across the county and with nationwide coverage provided. Studies have shown that a majority of patients are being seen within a month for scans under the initiative. Up until the launch of the scheme, patients had to be referred on to an outpatient appointment with a hospital consultant before accessing these radiology scans or to pay privately.