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An NAGP statement issued this afternoon said: “At a hearing on legal action seeking an interlocutory injunction against the scheme, the HSE sought adjournment of the case until June 11 – almost a week beyond the new sign-up date revised by the HSE only two days ago.”
According to the statement, Clare GP Dr Yvonne Williams sought to restrain the HSE from “unilaterally infringing on her current contract to provide care to medical card patients in an effort to halt what is, she says, a significantly lesser and poorly planned scheme which will unduly disadvantage truly acute and more pressing patient needs”.
Dr Williams stated: “My objection to this scheme has always been an ethical one. Although I would likely benefit financially in the short term from signing this contract, I refuse to do so. GPs have a responsibility to advocate for and safeguard the well-being of all our patients – not just those under six. I should not be forced into signing a contract that has significant implications for my patients, especially those who sadly continue to have chronic health problems, disabilities or low incomes.”
According to the NAGP, Counsel for the HSE said under-six patients will not be forcibly removed from any GP who chooses not to sign the contract for the summer period, and that there will be “no prejudice” against GPs who do not sign before the deadline.
The NAGP said that the adjournment of the action makes it “all but impossible” for the scheme to be finalised by 1 July.
Mr Chris Goodey, CEO NAGP, said: “The under-sixes scheme is now being strongly challenged.”