IMO conference: Junior Minister faces 'robust' questions

Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White

Junior Health Minister Alex White today faced "robust" questions from doctors at the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) annual conference over plans for free GP care for children under the age of six.

Minister White arrived to a wall of silence from the 350 GPs at today's meeting in Carton House, Kildare, during which he defended the legislation, which will be enacted in July, and called on the IMO to enter talks to discuss their concerns.

However, the GPs in attendance rejected the proposals - which they say are "unjust", "unworkable" and will "decimate" practices.

Speaking afterwards, Minister White said he appreciated the "robust" exchanges - and called on the IMO to return to talks.

"I again appeal to the IMO that the best way forward is for us to sit down and to discuss these issues."

However, the head of the IMO's GP Committee and the Union's newly-elected vice president Ray Walley said nothing about the plans are workable.

"The whole format is unacceptable," Mr Walley said.

"We have one abiding principle as general practitioners - Primum non nocere - 'do no harm'.

"This contract, this legislation… will do harm."

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