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Historic day for Irish general practice as transfer of GP training from HSE to ICGP approved by board

By Paul Mulholland - 19th Oct 2021

Effective from midnight 18 October 2021, the full responsibility for general practice training has transferred to the ICGP, as the postgraduate training body (PGTB).

On Saturday 16 October, the board of the ICGP gave formal approval to the transfer of general practice training from the HSE to the ICGP. This was the culmination of many years of engagement and negotiations by College and HSE representatives.

In his concluding remarks at the board meeting, the Chair of the ICGP, Dr John Farrell, stated: “This is a historic day for the College, GP training scheme educators, trainers, trainees and indeed for Irish general practice. The ambition of the College as a postgraduate training body has been to hold full responsibility for general practice training, and this has been a core objective since its foundation. For many years, it has been our ambition to grow GP training, and to make every effort to increase the number of GPs in the community to enable a well-resourced delivery of patient care.”

As part of the transfer process, on 5 March 2021, all general practice Programme Directors and Assistant Programme Directors transferred their employment from the HSE to the College, and since then negotiations have been ongoing to complete the transfer.

The immediate Past-President Dr Margaret O’Riordan, Chair of the board sub-committee overseeing the transfer, said, “We are now in control of our own destiny and from this point on, we have the significant responsibility not only to guarantee excellence in training, but also to ensure an adequate number of GPs to meet societal demands in cooperation with the HSE.”

The CEO of the ICGP, Mr Fintan Foy, expressed his satisfaction that the agreement with the HSE would enable ICGP to deliver a world class training programme and with the resources required to do so.
“There is a strong understanding between the College and the HSE that the delivery of training can only be achieved in partnership between the respective organisations. I wish to acknowledge the positive engagement of the HSE at each stage of the process and acknowledge the significant role of the IMO in enabling the culmination of negotiations between the HSE and ICGP.”

The President of ICGP, Prof Tom O’Dowd, and the Chair of the board, Dr John Farrell, signed the transfer agreement in the College on Monday evening (18 October).

Welcoming this milestone development Dr Colm Henry, HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer, acknowledged the efforts of the HSE and the ICGP in delivering what is a key health service priority in the current Programme for Government.
He expressed his optimism that the new organisational delivery model for GP training being implemented by the ICGP will prove to be a key enabler for the planned enhancement of the capacity of GP Training Programmes.
“This development will be a cornerstone of the HSE’s and ICGP’s efforts to meet the workforce challenges in general practice in the years ahead”, he said.

Mr Pat Healy, the HSE’s National Director, Clinical Programme Implementation and Professional Development, thanked the CEO and Board of the ICGP for their ongoing commitment and leadership in the development of general practice.

“The HSE looks forward to the collaborative and partnership approach between the HSE and the ICGP that characterised the process leading to the Transfer Agreement continuing to shape the relationship between both organisations going forward,” he said.

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