GPs to withdraw from primary care teams

Move follows cuts in GP fees introduced by Minister

Dr James Reilly who has introduced cuts in fees paid to GPs for treating medical card patients.

Dr James Reilly who has introduced cuts in fees paid to GPs for treating medical card patients.


GPs are to withdraw from working as part of primary care teams in protest at new cuts in fees introduced by Minister for Health James Reilly.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), which represents general practitioners, said during an emergency meeting earlier this week its GP Committee decided to pull out of any work that was not covered under the terms of the contract between family doctors and the Government.

It said this included:

* immediate withdrawal from primarycCare teams

* immediate withdrawal from community intervention teams

* immediate withdrawal from clinical care programmes (chronic disease)

The IMO said its GP committee believed the new cuts, which were announced last week, represented “the abandonment by the Government of any ambition to proceed with ’free’ GP care as part of a centrally funded system of universal health care.”

The IMO said the new cuts combined with previous fee reductions meant that “a total of over €150 million had been taken out of providing GP services to patients”.

“The GP committee has expressed grave concern that these cuts will have a direct impact on the range of services which individual GPs are able to provide to their patients and will, ultimately, lead to greater costs for the health service as a result of increased demand on secondary or community care budgets.”

The IMO said while GPs remained committed to the provision of a high quality service under the GMS contract, “any additional services which patients may require (and which previously might have been provided by the GP) would now cease”.

“ In particular GPs will refer all pro bono work which is not covered by the GMS Contract to the most appropriately resourced service.”

The chairman of the GP committee, Dr Ray Walley said: “This latest round of cuts will have a massive detrimental impact on patient services. Our members are committed to doing all they can on behalf of their patients but faced with these continuous cuts, GPs will now have to focus on working to their contracts and having other services referred for attention to their nearest hospital.

“This is not good for patients or the health services. This latest move by Government further undermines general practice and will ultimately lead to higher costs.”

Under the cuts announced by the Minister last week GP fees for treating medical card patients will fall on average by 7.6 per cent.