Irish Medical Organisation

IMO criticise “arrogance” of Health Ministers in respect of Free GP plans

Wednesday 27th November 2013. The Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, Dr. Ray Walley, has accused the Health Ministers (James Reilly and Alex White) of “arrogance” in their continued failure to discuss the Governments plans for Free GP care with the IMO – the representative body for GPs in Ireland.

Dr. Walley said that a change as profound as that contemplated for GP care over the coming years must be discussed with those professionals expected to work in the new regime; “the Department of Health is alone amongst the Government Departments in its refusal to discuss profound changes in the provision of GP care with the very people who provide the service. The Department of Education have no problem discussing changes in the exam system with teachers and the Department of Agriculture have regular discussions with representative bodies for farmers. Why does the Department of Health persist in its refusal to discuss changes for GPs with the IMO.”

Dr. Walley also criticised as “immoral” the prioritisation of young healthy children under the age of six for Free GP cards when benefits are being withdrawn from desperately needy children over the age of six, their parents and their grandparents; “Healthcare must be prioritised for those who need it most and that’s not happening under this Government.”

Dr. Walley also said that it was impossible to apply current fees for medical card patients to a universal system of free GP Care; “the introduction of free GP care at the point of service will fundamentally alter the economics of General Practice in Ireland. You can’t remove private patient income from the current dual private/public patient model and expect the model to be unaffected. That is why we need a properly planned and co-ordinated approach to the evolution of GP services in Ireland but we’re not getting it with this Government.”


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