Irish Medical Organisation

IMO “appalled” at details of legislation for new GP Contract

Wednesday 23rd April 2014. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said it is “appalled” at legislative proposals published today with the aim of overhauling the contractual relationship between GPs and the HSE.

Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO said the legislation “had exceeded our worst fears.” He described its proposals as “draconian” and “an attempt to unilaterally rewrite the relationship between GPs and the HSE.” Dr. Walley predicted that GPs would react with fury to the proposed legislation.

Dr. Walley said that the proposed legislation gave the lie to the argument by Government that this was about extending Free GP Visit Cards to GPs; “this legislation has nothing to do with GP visit cards for children. It is nothing less than a unilateral attempt to replace the long-standing GMS Contract with a new, draconian contract which will destroy the very fabric of the GP service in Ireland and there are very serious concerns as to the future viability of the service.”

The IMO has highlighted that the new contract will:
• Institutionalise the provisions of emergency legislation (FEMPI) in regard to GPs. This will allow the Minister to unilaterally reduce, vary and change fees paid for GP services at any time.
• Force GPs to move to the new contract by removing existing GMS patients to the new scheme
• Abolish the right of the IMO – a licensed Trade Union – to negotiate on behalf of its GP members
• Allow the Minister to vary the fees without any negotiation at any time

Dr. Walley said that the new legislation would accelerate the departure of GPs from the Irish Health Services; “this legislation will effectively destroy General Practice and should not be enacted. It reflects an arrogant mindset by an arrogant Government that should know better. On the one hand the Minister says he wants to talk to the IMO while on the other publishes legislation that appears to make talks a futile exercise. The irony of the situation is that we all want a better and more equitable health service but the actions of Government and this legislation will not deliver it. This is a line in the sand moment not just for individual GPs but for the continued viability of the GP model in Ireland.”

The Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care, Alex White TD, has accepted an invitation to attend the National GP Meeting at this weekend’s AGM of the IMO in Carton House on Saturday morning.

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