Cuts to GPs
A chara, – In Mark Hennessy’s article (“Howlin plays down troika concerns over price of Irish drug prices”, November 2nd), Brendan Howlin adroitly changes subject from drug pricing to a subtle jab at GPs. His sleight of hand is inaccurate and misleading.
His assertion that “all we are doing is transposing onto those who provide services for the State the same cuts we have imposed on people who work directly for the State” is fallacious at best. He is well aware that he is not comparing like with like.
I challenge Mr Howlin to name publicly any department or agency, whose staff work directly for the State, who have suffered cuts to pay of 40 per cent in the past five years. Furthermore, those who work directly for the State, unlike general practitioners, do not pay for their heating, lighting, insurance, office rent, colleagues’ salaries or PRSI.
The current contractual relationship between GPs and Health Service Executive is based on a contract negotiated in 1972. Doctors who work under the GMS (medical card) scheme independently contract their services to the State, and for this reason the GMS scheme is a public service commitment. Unfortunately the relationship between GPs and the HSE is being significantly undermined.
In stark contrast to funding, the costs of providing the service we provide are not being cut. It is simply not possible to provide/maintain existing services in the context of relentless cuts. Unfortunately, as usual, it is the Irish people who will suffer. – Is mise,
Dr DONAL PUNCH,