Press Release

Cabinet gives approval to legislation to eliminate restrictions on GPs wishing to treat public patients

Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Health today (Wednesday 14th September) announced that the Cabinet has given approval to the drafting, as a priority, of a Bill to provide for the removal of restrictions on GPs from treating all Medical Card patients. This will give effect to a commitment in the EU/IMF Programme. The legislation will provide that:

  • The HSE can enter into a contract for the provision of services to GMS patients with any suitably qualified and vocationally trained GP.
  • Medical practitioners, who hold a GMS contract on foot of the 2009 interim entry provisions, will be entitled to accept on to their list any patient nominating them as their doctor of choice.
  • Time limits which currently exist in relation to the dissolution of GP partnerships will be abolished.
  • The viability of existing GP practices in an area will no longer be a factor in awarding GMS contracts.
  • New GMS contract holders will be free to establish their practice in the location of their choice, but once established, they will require the prior approval of the HSE if they wish to change their centre of practice.

Minister Reilly said, “The proposed Bill will result in medical card and GP visit card patients having a greater choice of GPs under the GMS Scheme. It will also ensure that any suitably qualified doctor who wishes to obtain a GMS contract will be free to do so”.

The Minister added “This legislation will encourage young GPs to remain in this country and to establish their practices here. It will also encourage competition among GPs at a time when many fee paying patients have less money at their disposal.”


Suitably qualified and vocationally trained GPs are doctors who have undertaken and passed the Membership of the Irish College of General Practitioners (MICGP) examination and obtained membership of the College through the award of a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Training (CSCT) from the Medical Council.