Deputy Michelle Mulherin confirmed she has secured a meeting with Minister of State Alex White for Mayo GPs who have expressed concerns in relation to the terms of proposed contract to realise the Government's plan for the provision of a free GP service to all children aged under six years in the country.
She said this week: “At the GP crisis meeting held at the TF Castlebar last Monday night Mayo GPs attended expressing their concerns about aspects of the GP contract for under sixes as drafted and the need for meaningful engagement on these issues by the HSE and the Department of Health with the various organisations representing GPs such as the Irish Medical Organisation, the Irish College of General Practitioners, and the National Association of General Practitioners. I spoke with Minister of State at the Department of Health, Alex White TD, who is heading up the initiative about GP concerns. At my request he has agreed to meet a delegation of Mayo GPs to discuss the contract and particular issues facing rural GPs who are at the coal face in the provision of a primary health service to patients. This is very welcome news.”
She went on to say: “Minister White also assures me that intends to meet with the GP representative bodies in the coming weeks for detailed discussions on the scope and content of the draft contract. This will afford them the fullest opportunity to raise any and all issues which they may have regarding the draft contract, including concerns about their compliance with the Medical Practitioners Act, professional competence, and other laws governing GPs. It will also enable them to make their own proposals as to how the draft contract may be improved.”
Deputy Mulherin concluded: “This is very important as buy in by GPs is crucial to Government plans to expand and make more accessible our primary healthcare service. In this regard Government is committed to introducing, on a phased basis, a universal GP service without fees within its term of office, as set out in the Programme for Government and the Future Health Strategy framework. As the first step and as announced in the Budget, it has been decided to commence the roll-out of a universal GP service by providing all children aged five and under with access to a GP service without fees, and a budget of an additional €37 million has been allocated in this regard. The decision to commence the roll-out with this age cohort is in accordance with the recommendation in Right from the Start, the report of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy. Universal screening and surveillance services are already made available for children in this age cohort. Evidence suggests that a high quality primary care system with universal access will achieve better outcomes for young children.”