Representatives from the IMO and Department are due to meet for three days of talks commencing on 22 January followed by another three days of talks in the last week of January.
IMO GP Chairman Dr Pádraig McGarry recently revealed the dates of the meetings but cautioned that a “big if” remained around whether or not any agreement would be reached with the department on a new GP contract.
Dr McGarry said “there will have to be definite movement” with regard to talks soon and stressed that the IMO was seeking “finality” on talks sooner rather than later.
The HSE National Service Plan 2019 commits €70 million in funding to “GP contracts”, but it is not yet clear what aspect of services this money will be used for.
The HSE plan promises to “agree and implement GP contractual changes including the roll-out of a structured approach to chronic disease management.”
Meanwhile, the NAGP has again criticised the absence of progress in reaching agreement on a new GP contract.
In official correspondence issued to members recently, seen by MI, senior NAGP members said GPs had been assured “that contract negotiations ‘would be time limited to the end of the year’”.
“What is most disappointing is that Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed to the Oireachtas Committee on Health that general practitioners will not get a new contract. Instead, what we will get are additions to the current contract,” the correspondence states.
“This current contract which is over 40 years old is neither fit for purpose nor reflective of what is required to meet the health needs of society. Medical illness, interventions, treatments and diagnostics have changed immeasurably over the past four decades.”