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GP OOH review ‘will be different’ to previous document

Stakeholders have been informed that the report will be unlike the previous review published in 2010, which was seen by many GPs as one-sided.

HSE officials have held workshops with stakeholders and more are due to take place shortly.

At a meeting in Dublin in January, HSE officials assured co-op staff that the report would not resemble the previous out-of-hours report, which had received widespread criticism.

Chair of the National Association of GP Co-ops, Co Mayo GP Dr Ken Egan, who attended the meeting, said it was put to HSE officials that the last report was one-sided.

“But they assured us that this would be different; that it would be a national report and involve more discussion from stakeholders,” Dr Egan noted.

“I expect the report to highlight that co-ops are under severe pressure from public demand and that there needs to be equality of funding across co-ops… some co-ops have their ‘red-eye’ paid and others don’t, for instance.”

HSE National Director of Primary Care Mr John Hennessy and two experts from England were among the officials in attendance, while representatives from the ICGP, ambulance service and staff from co-ops were also present.

Dr Egan’s understanding was that the report would be published in the next three months. Mr Hennessy is on record as having said the report would conclude in 2016.

The Primary Care Division Operational Plan 2017 stated that recommendations from the review would be implemented within existing resources by the end of September.

Operations Manager at NEDOC Ms Arlene Fitzsimons, who was at the meeting, said further meetings at local level would be held.

Ms Fitzsimons described the meeting as an “information-gathering exercise”. She said the process appeared to be different to that associated with the previous report.

“The last report had a significant impact on us, in that our funding was cut by 66 per cent and our doctor triage was removed… in my view, the report was written to achieve these goals,” she said.

One issue arising in current GP contract negotiations is the obligation on GPs for 24-hour care, MI understands.

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