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“It’s very early days now in regards the negotiations and the IMO will confirm that,” the Minister told MI. “I suppose we are just setting out the groundwork in terms of what is to be negotiated and what the time frame is. Is it possible to do a deal? I think it is. I always believe there is a solution to everything.
“Is there a role for the NAGP? That hasn’t been decided yet. We did meet them recently, and they made it very clear they want to be involved in the negotiations about the new contract. But again no decision has been made on that.”
Her comments to MI are in contrast to her comments during the 2016 Health Budget launch in October, where she said that it would not be appropriate for the NAGP to become involved in the GMS talks.
“We had an extremely positive meeting with both Ministers last week where we outlined the issues facing general practice. We felt that we received a positive audience,” said NAGP CEO Mr Chris Goodey last week. I think the Minister’s comments may be a reflection of that positivity,” he told MI.
“We followed up the meeting with a letter formally requesting a role in the contract negotiations.
“We are cautiously optimistic and we will wait and see what happens.”
Over 70 GPs recently attended an open NAGP consultation meeting in Clonmel about the GMS contract.
MI has learned that the contract negotiations will include discussions about special ‘deprivation payments’ for GPs who work in economically deprived areas.