Irish Medical Organisation

IMO concludes negotiations with Dept of Health and HSE on extension of GP Doctor Visit Cards

Agreement sees investment of €130 million in GP Services


The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has concluded negotiations with Government and the HSE on a package of measures for the introduction of Doctor Visit Cards for:

a)            All children aged 6 and 7 not currently in receipt of a GP card (an estimated 78,000)

b)            Up to 430,000 people on the basis of income

Speaking today, Dr Tadhg Crowley, Chair of the GP Committee of the IMO, said: “This agreement recognises the need to continue to invest in General Practice given Government policy to expand the number of patients covered by Doctor Visit Cards.  The agreement recognises the need to retain and expand the GP Practice Team and support GPs in delivering care to patients.”

He said that General Practice was a critically important part of the health system, with GPs dealing with over 24 million patient visits every year. In the majority of these cases there is no requirement to refer to the acute sector.

Dr Crowley said: “GPs are working under significant pressure every day given the capacity problems within General Practice.  The reality is that there is no quick fix for our capacity issues and while we welcome more training places being made available, more will need to be done to attract and retain doctors to the system. 

“Patients very much value the continuity of care provided by General Practice and we know that health outcomes are improved when that is supported. Patients also recognise the capacity issues within the service and that GPs are doing their very best to deliver timely care.”

He said that the IMO welcomed the commencement of a wider strategic review into General Practice. “This agreement is a step in the right direction that recognises the need to support General Practice but it will not exist in isolation. Rather, it is an interim agreement that will act as a bridge to the development of a new model of General Practice.  This review will be followed by talks to determine contractual terms to enable the objective of supporting the delivery of care in the community.”

The IMO will now commence a consultation process with GPs around the country on the proposals.

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