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Despite the endorsement by the IMO and the charm offensive by Minister Leo Varadkar at that Organisation’s recent annual meeting, it is clear that many GPs are still very concerned about the development, and it is still very unclear as to whether the plan will succeed.
While Minister Kathleen Lynch, who has managed to remain well liked in spite of four years at Hawkins House, did at least give an indication that some GPs have taken the plunge and signed the contract, the HSE is very much keeping its own counsel. Something tells me though, if a sizable number of GPs had already signed up, the Executive would not be so shy.
A press release would have been fired-off to every media outlet in the land with an exact figure. Sometimes silence speaks volumes, as they say.
However, as Minister Lynch told GPs last weekend, free under-sixes GP care is going to happen. So there.
Since free GP care was first mooted, the idea of providing care based on an age cohort has been repeatedly challenged, and not just by the medical representative bodies. It is one of the things that the IMO, NAGP and ICGP agree on. Why then has the Government persisted with this course? The answer is votes. With an election around the corner and a lot of ruffled feathers to smooth, the electorate needs to be won over.
However, if the recent past has shown us anything, using health to buy elections leads to disaster.
This is my last editorial as Editor of the Medical Independent. Without qualification, it has been an absolute pleasure to work here. I have had a chance to speak to and learn from the people who keep the health service, rickety and unfair as it sometimes is, going. I want to thank all of our readers for their support and confidence over the last five years, and assure you that the future is in excellent hands.
While I am saddened to be leaving, I know that the Medical Independent will continue to live up to its motto of delivering ‘all that matters in medicine’. Our award-winning journalist Catherine Reilly will be taking over as acting editor before Priscilla Lynch assumes the role in June.
Thank you again and farewell.