South Tipperary GPs and the HSE have reached agreement over the new free medical care for under sixes scheme. The majority of doctors in the county had refused to sign up for the scheme because of concerns over its operation and its impact on waiting times in their surgeries
Now the National Association of General Practitioners and GPs in South Tipperary have announced that the majority of GPs in the area have taken the decision to sign the interim under-6s contract.
They say the agreement follows positive communications between the NAGP and the HSE
The HSE has agreed to engage with the NAGP in relation to any matters that may arise relating to the operation of the contract and in relation to general contractual issues. The HSE has also given assurances that the “development of community based services in primary care will be considered for inclusion in the 2016 estimates and service plan”.
Clonmel GP Martin Rouse said the group welcomes the resolution.
“We now have an opportunity through engagement to lobby on behalf of our patients and we have been able to get clarification on issues which were discouraging us from signing,” Dr Rouse said.
“We have made the decision to sign to prevent further patient displacement. It has always been our objective to maintain the level of service that our patients have come to expect from us, and we look forward to the provision of the additional supports which will be essential to the delivery of this scheme.”
Dr Rouse further welcomed the HSE’s decision to recognise the NAGP’s role as a GP representative body.
“While we are not all members of the NAGP, it is important to us that every GP should have the right to be represented by a union of his or her choosing, and that engagement on issues arising from the terms and conditions of this contract should not be limited to one organisation and exclude another,” he said.
Mr Chris Goodey, CEO of the NAGP said: “The GPs in South Tipperary have had legitimate concerns in relation to the delivery of the under-6 scheme. On foot of engagement with the HSE Director General and clarification on important issues, the GPs have agreed to sign the interim contract.”
Mr Goodey said he hopes this resolution marks the beginning of constructive engagement between the NAGP and the HSE.
“General practice is at a very critical juncture. It is only through engagement and collaboration that we can ensure the future of the specialty and strengthen its position at the centre of a high-quality, efficient, cost-effective health service,” Mr Goodey said.