IMO says Reilly ‘not serious’ about free GP care plan
Minister hopes scheme - which will cost €40m a year - will be in place next year
Minister for Health James Reilly: criticised by IMO for not engaging with GPs. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
The initiative, envisaged as a first step in the phased introduction of free primary care, is awaiting Cabinet approval, Dr Reilly said this morning.
Dr Reilly said he hoped the scheme - which will cost an estimated €40 million per annum - would be in place by next year.
“That’s certainly what I want to see,” Dr Reilly told RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke programme this morning.
The IMO, which represents doctors, today criticised Dr Reilly for promising to provide free care “without any engagement with GPs”.
Dr Ray Walley, chairman of the IMO’s GP committee said Dr Reilly has repeatedly raised hopes of an extension of free primary care for young people but has not made any attempt to engage with GPs who he expects to provide the service
“This suggests either an utter disregard for the people who will be responsible for delivering this service or an extremely cynical approach to politics and policy. It strikes us that the Minister is not serious about policy and not serious about this initiative,” he added.
Dr Reilly also pledged today that waiting lists for appointments with hospital consultants will be cut to less than 12 months by January next.
He said the HSE was putting strategies in place to ensure patients are seen within that target time.
Over 87,000 people are currently waiting more than 12 months for a first appointment with a consultant.
He said those waiting longest would be seen, once the urgent case and cancer patients have had a consultation with a consultant.
“I guarantee you, you will see a massive reduction [in the waiting list] by the end of December in that figure”, he said.