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The Department confirmed to the Medical Independent (MI) that there had been no formal meetings with the IMO since the beginning of the year regarding the new GP contract negotiations.
Last month, MI reported that there had also been no direct meetings between the HSE and Department and the NAGP since last October.
“That is correct — as yet, there have been no formal meetings with the IMO or consultative meetings with the NAGP in 2018,” a Department spokesperson told MI.
However, the spokesperson insisted that the “GP contract process is a priority for 2018”.
“The overall aim is to develop a contract which has a population health focus, providing in particular for health promotion and disease prevention and for the structured ongoing care of chronic conditions.”
The Department said that in 2017, there were approximately 18 formal meetings with the IMO in relation to contractual
development proposals, in addition to further informal meetings to discuss technical and clinical issues. There were eight consultative meetings with the NAGP.
“It is hoped that progress can be made with GP representatives in the coming months, however a definitive time line for this cannot be indicated at this point.”
Last month, NAGP CEO Mr Chris Goodey told MI that the NAGP had been told that the talks delay was due to “personal changes within the HSE and Department of Health”.
A HSE spokesperson told MI that it “continues to work with the Department of Health and all stakeholders and remains fully committed to this important process. This has not been adversely impacted by retirements or staff changes, which are a normal part of the work environment.”
In terms of the number of the meetings with the ICGP that have taken place as part of the contract talks, the HSE spokesperson told MI that it “continues to have ongoing and regular engagement with the ICGP on a range of professional, clinical, training and ICT-type matters”.
“Such is the ongoing and wide-ranging nature of the collaborative relationship between the HSE and the ICGP that it is not possible to give a comprehensive outline of the number of meetings that have taken place with the College over the period in question.”