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GPs tell Minister – sort out our contracts as a priority

By November 24, 2016 No Comments

GPs want a new contract sorted out as a matter of priority, a survey by the Irish Medical News has revealed.
Of the issues raised by doctors on running a practice following a question submitted by this newspaper, one in three put the completion of a new contract with the government as top of their list.
More and more GPs are looking for help in the management of their business while there is also growing concern about shortage of medical manpower.
This is reflected in the highlighting of the problems besetting general practices outside of big urban areas including the rapidly expanding workload facing many practitioners.
Respondents also called for the reversal of FEMPI (The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest), claiming that GP practices were “dying on their feet” and needed an immediate reversal in this situation.
Doctors claimed they were being asked to soak up extra costs and take cuts at a time when there was “an increasing demand from the public of their GPs” over a wide range of medical and mental health issues.
The response from over 280 doctors came from a question posed on behalf of Irish Medical News by Gorilla Survey – Ireland’s largest Physician Survey Platform.
The survey was carried out at a time when the Department of Health is seeking to include in the new contract round a greater degree of chronic disease management within general practice in an attempt to ease the pressure in hospitals.
It also comes at a time when the Minister, Simon Harris, accepted at the recent Quarterly Healthy Review in Leinster House that global competition for our medical graduates was now extremely keen, writes Rachel Cunningham.
He admitted that work was ongoing to tackle the aggressive poaching of Irish graduates by an international market.
It was claimed at the meeting that the country was losing a number of newly trained GPs to emigration while at the other end many established GPs were opting to retire early.
With 33 per cent of GPs aged over 55 years old, the attraction and retention of GPs, particularly to rural areas, had become a national concern.
In the Gorilla Survey, doctors raised a number of issues that they want highlighted.There is a genuine fear about legal problems, stress, the retention of GP levels as the brain-drain continues of our young qualified doctors.
On a more practical level, they pointed to the need for more support and direction in the technology area while equipment reviews was also underlined as something practices needed to keep up to date.
Meanwhile, the Irish Medical Organisation is to ballot its non-consultant hospital doctor members following the collapse of talks to see if they should undertake industrial action..
The organisation had taken a High Court case on behalf of the NCHDs in a bid to restore the €3,000 “living-out” allowance which was scrapped to save the exchequer during the recent economic crisis.
Last month the case was adjourned after the two parties began intensive negotiations in the hope of coming up with a solution.
However with the two government departments involved disengaging, the union has reactivated the High Court action as well as the ballot of members.
IMO President John Duddy said the government breach left them no option, adding that doctors didn’t want to strike.

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