MORE than 200 GPs gathered last night where they heard the draft contract for GPs to deliver under-six care described as "Machiavellian".
Dr Ed Walsh, the founding President of the University of Limerick, who now chairs the Board of Limerick's private Barrington Hospital, described the current proposed contracts as "unsignable".
"If the Government had wished to implement it, they wouldn't have proposed a contract of the kind they have written.
"It could be Machiavellian, but they have proposed a contract to GPs which no sane member of the GP community, or indeed any other community, could consider signing," he said at the meeting of Western-based GPs in Galway.
"It would appear to me that it's a Machiavellian device to put the Government in the position to blame the GPs for not signing the contract when they are absolutely right to totally reject what has been put forward."
Galway GP Sinead Murray – who also addressed the conference – described the plans for free GP care for children under six as a "ridiculous proposition".
Chris Goodey, CEO of the National Association of General Practitioners, warned that the GP system had now gone beyond the point of crisis. He revealed that up to 50pc of all new GP graduates were now being forced to emigrate.