IMO responds to latest Government promises of free GP care for under-5s.
Chair of GP Committee –
“Government needs to engage with GPs in the IMO if their promises for free GP care are going to be delivered”
“Unrealistic to expect GPs to provide more services when funds for existing services are being cut by Government.”
Wednesday 28th August 2013. The Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, Dr. Ray Walley, has strongly criticised the Department of Health and Children for talking about introducing free GP care but doing nothing to deliver it. The comments come in the wake of comments by the Minister Alex White in which he suggested the forthcoming budget might include provision for Free GP Care for Children Under 5.
Speaking today, Dr. Walley said that the Minister’s comments this week lack credibility because the Department of Health has still not attempted to discuss the issue with the IMO which represents GPs right across the country; “The first plan was to bring in so called free services for Long Term Illness patients now that has shifted to services for Under 5s. There appears to be no rationale behind the decision making process. You can’t simply wish for Free GP Care to happen and hope that it does. This would represent a massive policy shift and would have huge implications for GPs across the country who are already operating in a service starved of resources and at breaking point.”
Dr. Walley said that in the absence of serious engagement by the Department with various stakeholders on this issue, the IMO was forced to conclude that the comments were made for political purposes and did not represent a genuine commitment to the move; “the IMO would love to see properly funded GP services for patients young and old but the Government is actually going the other way; they are slashing funds for GP services even while they make promises about extending those services. Its either a very cynical or a very silly way to make policy. The Minister is well aware that such a fundamental change requires negotiation with GPs on a new contract. It is after all GPs who will have to deliver the service. Yet we have a situation whereby one part of Government is making these pronouncements while another arm of the State is engaged in a legal case with the IMO on our right to fully represent GPs in our capacity as their Trade Union”