Significant progress has been made on the long-planned HSE transfer of responsibility for GP training to the ICGP, with the move expected to commence before the end of 2021. Agreement has finally been reached on the status of GP training programme directors and assistant programme directors, with changes to take effect from this month.
ICGP President Dr Margaret O’Riordan told the Medical Independent (MI) that talks on the long-awaited and much discussed transfer had made “rapid progress in recent months”.
“The HSE has certainly engaged with the College in recent months. There is good progress being made,” said Dr O’Riordan.
“I would be very hopeful of it moving on. You can’t say for definite that it will, but it has been going on for years. There is a lot of engagement and activity on it at the moment.
“It is important for the College. All the other training bodies are responsible for the delivery of training and we are the biggest training body, so it would be very important for the College. The College is established to deliver education and training, it’s our core activity so absolutely it is a big, important move.”
Efforts to complete the transfer of training have been ongoing for many years. The transfer could not conclude until clarity was reached on the employment rights and status of GP training programme directors and assistant programme directors.
Mr Val Moran, IMO Director of Industrial Relations, General Practice, Public and Community Health, told MI that programme directors and assistant programme directors, of which there are 68 in total, have been offered two options under a new agreement. They can transfer to the ICGP on existing terms and conditions or accept a termination package with a maximum payment of €50,000. Depending on the amount of sessions worked, the payment varies from €10,000 to €50,000 per individual.
A little over half of the 68 employees have opted to take the termination package and the remainder will transfer to the ICGP, with effect from this month. All of the programme and assistant programme directors will remain in post until 1 July, with some due to stay on until the end of the year, it is understood.
Separately, and outside of the above agreement, a back payment for 12 GP scheme lecturers has been secured by the IMO. The lecturers will transfer to the ICGP. The ICGP oversees GP training in Ireland, accrediting the training schemes and issuing certificates of membership, but training is currently delivered by the HSE primary care division through a network of 14 training schemes nationwide. When the transfer is completed, the ICGP will be responsible for both the delivery and supervision of standards of GP training.