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National Director of CME Small Group Learning Dr Annraoi Finnegan reminded the meeting that the Programme for Partnership Government committed to increasing the number of CME tutors. Dr Finnegan said he met Minister for Health Simon Harris twice to discuss the issue, but there had been no progress. The Ballinasloe GP said it was “not a huge budget item” and he did not know why the Minister had not progressed the matter.
Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Dr Finnegan stated: “The funding situation is that when the HSE took over the CME schemes from the postgraduate medical board on 1 January 2009, there was an immediate cut of 30 per cent. On 1 May 2011, compulsory CPD came in, so the attendances and the number of people who joined the small group learning sessions increased by 40 per cent.”
He underlined that it was a national programme open to every GP in the country. He said the ideal size for small group learning is around 12 doctors, but in some cases, particularly urban areas, the number is up to 24. A tutor should have a maximum of five groups, but some are taking on eight or nine per month.
He said the programme was being run on less than €1 million annually and needs more tutors and new equipment.
“We are crying out for proper funding and I have to say, we need pay restoration and a pay increase for the tutors providing the service as well.”