Agreement on GP Contractual Reform

The Department of Health, the HSE and the IMO have reached agreement on a set of measures on the provision of new services, including a structured chronic disease management programme, commencing in 2020, which will benefit over 430,000 Medical Card and GP Visit Card patients over the next four years.

Under the Agreement, GPs will be paid Special Item of Service fees to provide venesection for patients with haemochromatosis and for participation, where such arrangements are established, in weekly virtual consultations with Consultant Cardiologists to discuss patients with heart failure.

A wide-ranging set of modernisation measures has also been agreed in the areas of eHealth, medicines management and multidisciplinary working. Key initiatives include the roll-out of electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) and the development of summary and shared care electronic patient records which will make healthcare safer and more efficient.

The introduction in 2019 of a system of pharmacist-led medication reviews will facilitate safer, more appropriate and more cost-effective prescribing. GPs will also for the first time formally cooperate with HSE multidisciplinary networks of health professionals in the community in the delivery of care, with a particular focus on those with complex needs.

In return for GPs’ cooperation with these service developments and reforms, the Government will increase investment in general practice by approximately 40% (€210m) over the next four years. This will see significant increases in capitation fees for GPs who participate in the reform programme and the introduction of new fees and subsidies for additional services such as the chronic disease management programme.

There will also be increased support for rural practices and for those in disadvantaged urban areas. The Rural Practice Allowance will be increased by 10% in 2020 and targeted funding of €2m annually will be set aside to provide additional support to practices in deprived urban areas. Improvements to maternity and paternity leave arrangements for GPs have also been agreed, in recognition of the need to ensure that general practice is compatible with doctors’ family commitments.

Terms of Agreement between the Department of Health, the HSE and the IMO regarding GP Contractual Reform and Service Development

Summary – Service Development, Modernisation & Reform Measures, and Eligibility