IMO submission on proposals for free GP visits for Children Under Six
• IMO asserts its right to fully negotiate on behalf of GPs
• Proposed contract to provide free GP care for children under 6 “unworkable”
• Submission highlights key flaws in proposed contract to govern this initiative.
Friday 21st February 2014. The Irish Medical Organisation has warned the Department of Health that if it continues to proceed without negotiation on matters relating to the Draft Contract the IMO will reserve all of its legal rights, including the right to take appropriate court action, to ensure that GPs are fully represented.
The IMO has expressed regret and disappointment that Minister Alex White failed to respond to correspondence requesting the commencement of full and meaningful negotiations with the IMO on all aspects of the Draft Contract.
While, the Minister for Primary Care, Alex White, this week spoke about engaging on the scope of the contract with the IMO, this falls far short of the Minister’s responsibility to engage in detailed negotiations on all aspects of the contract including workload and resources.
In its submission, the IMO strongly condemned the manner in which the Government has set about this initiative. In particular the IMO said it was reasserting its right to fully negotiate on behalf of GPs and confirmed that it does not accept the contention that such negotiations are not permitted under Competition Law. The IMO criticised the Department for proceeding with this initiative while the issue of the IMO’s negotiating rights for GPs is subject to a High Court action (commencing 30th April).
The IMO submission has detailed a wide number of flaws with the proposed contract including:
• The absence of key information regarding key aspects of this initiative including the legislation provisions proposed, the medical evidence underpinning the initiative, details of the demographics of the eligible population to be covered by this initiative in the coming years, details for the practical implementation of the contract.
• The new contract will impose a new range of duties and responsibilities on GPs and significant increase the clinical and administrative workload of GPs.
• The new contract will lead to a significant increase in the number and complexity of consultations undertaken by GPs.
• The new contract will seriously undermine the clinical independence of GPs
• The new contract will require significant additional resources and expenditure in terms of infrastructure and staffing levels in GP surgeries.
• The new contract will have negative implications for patients as GPs will be forced to become bureaucrats rather than doctors.