Govt Plans For Free GP Visits For Children Under Six Is Not Achievable - IMO

The GP Committee of the Irish Medical Council (IMO) has said that the Government's plans to introduce Free GP Visits for Children under six years of age this summer are "not achievable" given the lack of progress on the issue since the measure was first announced.

Dr Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, said that the Government must now acknowledge that it is time to talk to GPs in a meaningful way.

"The current situation is that the Minister for Health and the Minister for Primary Care are seeking to impose an unworkable contract by diktat on GPs in circumstances where there are no real negotiations," he said.

"It is unbelievable that, in the current environment GPs have been presented with a draft contract that effectively stops whistleblowing and now we are advised that legislation is being rushed through that will allow both the Minister for Health and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to set fees unilaterally and vary those fees as they see fit.

"The IMO asserts its right as a Trade Union with a negotiating licence to represent GPs in these matters and the Ministers are well aware that there are no obstacles to such negotiations.

"The timing of these events is all the more surprising given these very issues are before the Courts and due to be heard in a matter of weeks.

"Since the inception of the GMS in the 1970s, negotiations between Government and the IMO in respect of GP services has always delivered better services to patients and value for money to the State and the Minister for Health is well aware of the benefits for all in this entirely legitimate approach to delivering public health services.

"The result of the change of tactics by Government in the way it is seeking to do business is a retrograde step.

"The IMO are calling on Minister Reilly and Minister White to cease the practice of threatening GPs with legislation and immediately commence real negotiations."


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