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GP talks to start next month, pledges Minister

20 Oct 2016

Minister Simon Harris

Contract talks with GP representatives will take place next month, the Minister for Health has confirmed to Irish Medical Times.

Minister Simon Harris, along with HSE and officials from the Department of Health, is examining various options in this regard, including the most appropriate arrangements to engage with GPs and other primary care stakeholders.

Following the Budget last week, he indicated money had been set aside to fund new contract developments. “We want to agree progress in many areas, lock down that progress and then come back and put another building block in place,” he explained.

“I suggest that the GPs need a new contract if they are to be resourced and empowered to provide services.”

Determining what the future of primary care would look like did not need to take a long time, according to the Minister. “We need to advance that process and to then commence the contract negotiations and put in place the structure by the end of the year. Work in this regard is ongoing. That could play a major role.

“To have a new contract we need two sides that both need something and I believe we have this,” he said at last week’s Department of Health Budget briefing.

“I hear very clearly from GPs that the current contract does not work for them.

It does not enable or empower them to do what they believe they can and should be doing. A big example of this is chronic disease management.”

Minister Harris said he was eager not to go down “a silo route” in terms of having a conversation with only one group of healthcare professionals in primary care, only to find out at a later stage that another group was also doing work in this area, “such that we end up duplicating work”.

William Bourke

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times