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‘Red Eye’ subvention should be equal and paid directly to GP- IMO

This is the first of 12 recommendations made by the IMO in its submission to the HSE Primary Care Division GP Out of Hours Review Group.

“The “red eye” generally runs from 12 midnight to 8am, and 11pm to 8am seven nights a week with Caredoc and Southdoc,” the IMO says in its submission.

“The funding for the red-eye shift varies across the country. In some case the red-eye is partially subvented by the HSE while in others the shift is wholly funded by the GPs themselves.

“GPs have many and varied opinions on the out of hours situation. However, if there is one clear thread that unites all GPs it is that the cost of the red-eye shift should not have to be borne by GPs. It is unconscionable that GPs are suffering a loss in providing the additional cover needed to maintain 24/7 availability.”

The union raises capacity issues in its submission.

“Capacity issues must be addressed,” according to the submission.

“The increasing number of patients, ageing demographic profile of the population and impact of successive FEMPI cuts have all cut the capacity of general practice. This has manifested in spill over from the daytime service into the out of hours as well as an increasing difficulty is sourcing locums.”

The IMO has also recommended that GPs should retain control of the Out of Hours service “to ensure that it works to best serve the needs of patients”.

“Separating out the Out of Hours Service by way of a distinct contract could lead us towards unintended consequences e.g. the UK model which has encountered a number of difficulties and with which patient satisfaction has dramatically dropped,” claims the union.

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