Monday 11 December 2017

GPs wouldn't back free care scheme, survey says

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar remains confident.
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar remains confident.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar

David Kearns

The majority of doctors will refuse to sign up for free medical care for under-sixes.

The National Association of General Practitioners is reporting that 93pc of the GPs are backing its call to not to take part in the scheme.

In a survey of almost one thousand GPs conducted over the weekend, they said that the vast majority had agreed not to sign a new contract

The association accused Health Minister Leo Varadkar of being “out of touch on the issue” after he expressed confidence that most GPs will sign up for the scheme.

Read More: Most GPs will agree to free care for under 6s - Varadkar

Mr Varadkar, who is himself a qualified doctor, said all GPs were self employed so it was up to them individually to decide what to do.

He said he believed most would see the benefits of the additional resources and better outcomes that would come as a result of the scheme.

The HSE has set aside €25m in this year’s budget for free GP care for children under the age of six, a decision that the NAGP has called "morally reprehensible" because it believes the funding will not go to those with the greatest medical need.

The NAGP are arguing that the scheme will increase inequality in the health system because it is unfair to older children with chronic and life threatening conditions.

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