Doctors discuss bid to oppose GP contract

Family doctors from across the West met in Galway last night as part of the continuing campaign to oppose the proposed new GP contract.

The large turnout also included TDs and senators who were told that the new contract — it aims to provide free care for children under six — would create more problems in general practice and push GPs into a further crisis.

The Galway meeting is the third of a series of nationwide gatherings by the National Association of General Practitioners aimed at extending the campaign of opposition to the new contract.

The association has described the draft contract for family doctors to treat children under six years as so morally, economically and practically flawed it merits no further consideration.

The association said it wished to engage in serious discussions with Minister for Primary Care, Alex White and the Department of Health on a substantially revised and evidence-based contract that would motivate GPs.

The NAGP said it could not engage in a process where the discussion about funding simply ended with the minister being the one to decide and set the fee.

The draft contract for GPs treating children under six was presented at the end of January to the NAGP, the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish College of General Practitioners, at separate meetings with Mr White and his officials.

On the same day the HSE published the draft contract on its website seeking public consultation on the document.

The IMO has described the contract as a “Trojan horse” for an assault on the terms and conditions of all doctors in general practice.

It said the proposed contract would result in a significantly increased clinical workload, would increase the complexity of consultations and would require extra resources in staffing and infrastructure.

The ICGP has called on the Government to withdraw the draft contract and commence with an engagement with general practitioners on formulating “a proper change programme”, and begin a partnership between general practitioners on delivering “true and effective reform”.

Galway GP, Dr Dan Murphy, who chaired last night’s meeting in Galway, said: “It is obvious that the real story of the crisis that is happening in general practice is being whitewashed by the party establishments, but TDs and senators attending our meetings are beginning to understand what is really happening.”

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