Work has begun on a “strategic review” of GP services that will “inform future contractual changes”, this newspaper has been told.
In 2019, the IMO and the Department of Health signed an agreement that included the introduction of a chronic disease management programme for a number of conditions.
The terms also included a commitment to “undertake a strategic review of GP services” within the lifetime of the agreement.
However, a Department spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that “elements” of the agreement, which was meant to come to an end this year, will continue until 2023.
“The  agreement requires that GPs cooperate with a wide-ranging set of modernisation measures in the areas of e-health, medicines management, and multidisciplinary working,” the spokesperson told MI.
The Department noted “good progress” on implementation, but stated there had been delays in some areas “due to the impact of Covid-19”.
“Given the significant nature of the change programmes involved and the level of IT development required, there are elements of the agreement that will continue into 2023 to bring the programme to completion.”
The spokesperson said that this extension has been “acknowledged by all the parties to the agreement”.
On the promised “strategic review” of GP services, the spokesperson said “preparatory work has commenced”.
“The review will examine the broad range of issues affecting general practice and will set out measures necessary to deliver a sustainable service into the future. The outcome of this review will inform future contractual changes.”
It was anticipated that GP representative bodies would have an important contribution to make to the review, according to the spokesperson.