Why Tipp GPs refuse to sign up
Published 16/06/2015 | 02:30
Tipperary GP Dr Martin Rouse practises in the county showing the most resistance to signing up to the free visits for under-sixes so far.
So far just four of the 51 eligible GPs in south Tipperary have signed up, showing a strong sense of solidarity.
Dr Rouse works in a six-doctor practice at the Western House Medical Centre in Clonmel with around 800 six-year olds. He fears the workload will make it difficult for surgeries to provide a same-day service.
"I expect the visiting rate for under-six year olds to rise two to three-fold," he said.
"This may displace care for patients who are elderly or have chronic conditions. They could end up being sent back to hospital or their health could deteriorate because they are not responded to in time."
He believes the HSE has adopted a divide-and-conquer strategy to force GPs to sign up.
"Patients understand what is going on and are very tolerant. Having said that, reality bites on July 1 and money is a sensitive subject for everyone .
"If patients have to part with money then that is going to put our relationship in a difficult position."
He said: "Our current message to patients is that we have not signed up for now."
He is waiting until after a High Court challenge from Clare GP Dr Yvonne Williams.
"If I do sign up, it will not be voluntarily. Commerical reasons may dictate I have to.
"This is being foisted on us. When GP waiting rooms become like A&E departments with patients waiting they will wonder what they have done.The cost for patient care could be enormous."