Workload warning over extension of free doctor visits to under-sixes
The extra workload for GPs as a result of the extension of free doctor visits to all under-sixes may mean other patients will no longer enjoy a same-day or next-day service, the Irish College of General Practitioners has warned.
The GPs' training body also asked that the May 25 deadline set for doctors to sign the under-sixes contract be extended. The new doctors' union, the National Association of General Practitioners, is expected to bring a legal challenge to the contract this week.
The HSE could not say yesterday how many GPs have so far signed the contracts.
The aim is to have the scheme in place by July and allowing parents to start registering with a doctor from next month.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said that GPs are self-employed contractors.
It is up to each individual GP to decide whether they want to sign up and provide this new enhanced service.
"We would encourage GPs to sign up, as this is a unique opportunity to invest in primary care," he said.