GPs are threatening to seek a court injunction to prevent the introduction of a new contract providing for free care for the under sixes.
The doctors in the Irish Medical Organisation said they will take the legal action if they are not allowed to negotiate the terms of the contract.
The government has planned to introduce free GP care for all under sixes from the middle of next summer and have put out a draft contract for consultation.
However, the doctors’ union claimed today that the HSE and Department of Health are trying to bulldoze it through even though they believe it could put patient safety at risk and gag them from being whisteblowers.
Dr Ray Walley, GP spokesman said they have now written to the Minister James Reilly and given him a deadline to allow them negotiate.
Dr Walley described the draft contract as “repugnant” and “a threat to the privacy of the doctor / patient relationship.”
He added: “It is clear this draft contract has little to do with the provision of care for Under 6s but more about the HSE trying to take control of general practice and that will be bad for patients.”
GPs are not allowed to take any industrial action but they have the right to refuse to sign the contract if they wish.However, this would mean that the young children would attend another doctor instead.
“The IMO and its GP members are calling for real negotiations so that a complete review of the medical card scheme and publicy funded contracts can be undertaken so as to ensure general practice can not only continue to deliver an excellent service but do more for patients in a properly resourced system.”