Minister refuses to meet South Tipp GP’s

Eamon Lacey

Reporter:

Eamon Lacey

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has refused to meet South Tipperary GP’s to address their concerns about the introduction of free GP care to under sixes.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has refused to meet South Tipperary GP’s to address their concerns about the introduction of free GP care to under sixes.

An open letter to Minister Varadkar signed by South Tipperary doctors stated that they wish to provide free care to under six patients but that they were concerned that the adequate resources were not in place for the scheme to go ahead.

Minister Varadkar, however turned down the request over the weekend.

South Tipperary GPs said they were extremely disappointed that the Minister for Health has refused to meet with them to discuss their patient safety concerns in relation to the under-6s scheme and called on Minister Tom Hayes to ask the Minister to meet them.

In an open letter to the Minister last week, 36 GPs from the South Tipperary region expressed their concern that the increased demand, reduced consultation time and waiting list which would arise as a result of the scheme make a serious patient safety incident very likely. They called on Minister Varadkar to meet with them to discuss the situation and to engage with them to ensure that the safety of their patients was given priority.

However, in a letter received by the South Tipperary GPs this weekend, Minister Varadkar refused the request.

The Minister said meeting with them would give others “might create an impression that the under 6 contract can be altered or renegotiated”.

“It cannot,” the Minister said. “It’s done.” He said his focus now is on other matters, including extending free GP care to more children.

The South Tipperary GPs said they will now refocus their efforts on ensuring that their patients are aware of the risks involved in delivering this flawed contract.

South Tipperary doctors have the lowest uptake on the scheme at 8% with the next lowest at 22% in Louth.In Donegal 94% of doctors have signed up to the scheme which starts on July 1st.