Statement by Simon Harris, Minister for Health, on the GP Contract
Minister for Health Simon Harris today (16 March) reaffirmed his commitment to early engagement with general practitioner representatives on the reform of the GP contract.
“I want to acknowledge the important role that GPs play in our health service, and to emphasise the Government’s commitment to ensuring sustainable GP services into the future, meeting the needs of patients and providing a viable and rewarding career for our current GPs as well as our medical graduates.”
“One of my key objectives is to agree contractual changes that will bring an increased population health focus, providing in particular for health promotion and disease prevention and for the structured on-going care of chronic conditions. I want to secure agreement on meaningful improvements in the services that GPs provide to patients with a medical card or GP visit card and which will see additional resources provided to general practice to support these services.”
“I am also committed to developing a new multi-annual approach to fees. This is a significant step in responding to GPs’ concerns about the effect of the fee adjustments, which were put in place under the FEMPI legislation, as part of the State’s response to the economic crisis of the last decade. I also want my Department and the HSE to engage with GPs on contractual reforms and new services which could be provided in general practice if resourced.”
“I have been in discussion with Government colleagues as we develop our approach to this crucial agenda and I expect to brief the Cabinet in further detail at the Government meeting on 27 March. Officials in my Department are working intensively with the Department of Public Expenditure and the HSE to prepare for the next stage of engagement on these contractual issues and I expect this to commence within a matter of weeks.”
The Minister concluded, “I believe that with commitment on all sides it should be possible to reach agreement with GP representatives in the next few months on a package that will see service improvements across general practice that benefit both patients and GPs and that enables additional resources and capacity to be put in place to support these changes.”