Irish Medical Organisation

IMO GPs warn that Draft Contract will destroy confidentiality of Doctor/ Patient relationship and prevent GPs from being whistleblowers against the HSE.

Proposals will reduce time GPs have to treat patients due to mindless bureaucracy proposed by HSE.

Thursday 13th February 2014. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has accused the Minister for Health and the HSE of wanting to look over the shoulder of every GP in the country and second-guess their confidential advice to patients.

Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, said that the draft Contract proposed by the Department of Health would make the Department and the HSE an invisible third party at consultations between Doctors and their patients and would also prevent Doctors from criticising errors made by the HSE or the Department of Health. Dr. Walley described the Draft Contract as “repugnant” and “a threat to the privacy of the doctor / patient relationship.”

Dr. Walley was speaking at a special Press Conference called by the IMO to highlight the serious impact that these proposals will have on patient care and the delivery of services to all patients, not just Under 6s. Dr Walley “it is clear this Draft Contract has little to do with the provision of care for Under 6s but more about the HSE trying to take control of General Practice and that will be bad for patients.”.
The amendments include fundamental variations and modifications to the Doctor Visit Only Card Contract which was negotiated between the Department and the IMO in 2005 and is seeking to replace the GMS Contract without negotiation.

The IMO and its GP Members are calling for real negotiations so that a complete review of the GMS and Publicly Funded Contracts can be undertaken so as to ensure General Practice can not only continue to deliver an excellent service but do more for patients in a properly resourced system.
In response to the draft contract, the IMO warned the Department that it will consider seeking an injunction to prevent the Department introducing these changes without the agreement of the IMO which is the Trade Union and holder of a negotiating licence for GPs; “the proposals are obviously amendments of existing contract negotiated between the Government and the IMO and there are clear procedures which must be honoured by both sides before any such changes can be introduced.”

The IMO has highlighted these issues in particular:
• The amendments will make GPs administrators rather than doctors. They will require GPs to spend more time on administration and less time on patient care leading to waiting lists for routine GP visits.
• The amendments will give the HSE unprecedented access to otherwise confidential patient information.
• The amendments will exacerbate the crisis in GP resourcing. Coming on top of a withdrawal of €160m from GP services over the past few years.
• The amendments will restrict the ability of GPs to call-out the HSE for errors and risks and re-enforce a culture of secrecy across the health services.

Dr. Walley said that the HSE record of involvement in other sectors of the health services was abysmal and it was illogical for them to be given a greater role in the running of GP services which has to date provided excellent services despite continuous cuts from Government; “the HSE has done nothing to earn the trust of the Irish public. I dread the consequences of extending their influence into GP sector which has proved incredibly successful as it is.”


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