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The recent IMO National GP Meeting heard that the funding would be reduced from around €11 million to over €7 million under the transfer from the HSE. IMO GPs noted “with the greatest concern the terms of the proposed transfer”, which will see the ICGP responsible for delivering training in addition to overseeing standards.
The two trainees representing the Network, who served on the ICGP Education, Development and Implementation Committee (EDIC) overseeing the transfer project, informed the ICGP Board that they would withdraw from the Committee, as they were unhappy with the EDIC process to date.
The issue came to a head over fears associated with small group sizes in the future.
In correspondence, the trainees also stated that they were unhappy that, at the first meeting, they were informed that the EDIC discussions were to be kept confidential. This put them in a difficult position as trainees, they stated. An ICGP spokesperson said nobody was asked to sign a ‘confidentiality agreement’.
Due to the size of the funding reduction, the trainees said it appeared counter-intuitive that the training standards would be maintained fully. They also felt the transfer project had become contentious, polarised between the College and Programme Directors (Programme Directors are not on the EDIC).
They stated that they found the EDIC an increasingly difficult forum to express their views.
The trainees said the Network, and GP trainees in general, considered GP training as the best medical training programme in Ireland.
The ICGP’s spokesperson said it could not comment on the future training budget, which is “currently under discussion”.
“The College are continuing to engage with trainees. Some trainees have expressed some concerns about certain aspects of the process and these concerns will be addressed. The College remains committed to involving all stakeholders in this process as we move towards completion and implementation.”
CEO Mr Fintan Foy said the ICGP must reflect the needs of all members, which may not be uniform at any one time. The College also said the “reorganisation” of GP training would create a new role, “which is quite different to that of the current Programme Director’s role” but remuneration would remain generous by international comparison.