GPs hit out at Reilly's lack of engagement on free care scheme

The Irish Medical Organisation has hit out at the Minister for Health James Reilly over the free GP scheme, calling him the 'Minister for non-engagement'

Members accuse the Minister, his department, and the HSE for failing to negotiate meaningfully over the proposed free GP visits for under sixes.

The IMO claims the government's target to implement the scheme by this summer is "not achievable".

Dr. Ray Walley, from the IMO's GP committee, said the proposed contract for Doctors has been presented as a 'fait accompli', but is still contentious.

He highlighted concerns over a so-called "gagging clause" in the new contract which might prevent GPs or other practitioners criticising the HSE.

The draft contract includes section 28.4.4, which reads: "The Service Provider (GP) shall not do anything to prejudice the name or reputation of the HSE."

"[This] is unacceptable in the present environment," Walley said.

"You have the Government advising that they're for open disclosure, yet they provide a contract which says that 'thou shalt not take the name of the HSE in vain'.

"On top of that, now we're advised that legislation is being rushed through that will allow both the Minister for Health and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to set fees unilaterally, and vary those fees as they see fit."

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