HSE publishes under-6s free GP care contract

New contract requires family doctors to carry out wellness checks on young children

GPs are independent contractors and it will be up to each doctor individually to decide whether to sign up for or opt out of the new arrangement. Photograph: Hugh Macknight/PA Wire

GPs are independent contractors and it will be up to each doctor individually to decide whether to sign up for or opt out of the new arrangement. Photograph: Hugh Macknight/PA Wire

 

The Health Service Executive has published the GP contract document for the provision of free care to all children aged under six.

The document is being sent to all 2,400 GPs who hold existing GMS (medical card) contracts but is also open to any qualified GP who does not currently hold a GMS contract to apply.

GPs are independent contractors and it will be up to each doctor individually to decide whether to sign up for or opt out of the new arrangement.

In addition to providing GP care for all under 6’s the new contract provides for periodic wellness checks for children. Scheduled at age two and age five, these checks will focus on health and wellbeing and disease prevention.

It also includes a cycle of care for the management of asthma. GPs will be required to maintain a register of child patients aged under 6 years with a diagnosis of asthma and provide services to them in accordance with the agreement.

The HSE wants GPs to return signed contracts as soon as possible to enable parents to start registering their under-6s by June.

Family doctors are split on the new contract, with the Irish Medical Organisation in favour and the National Association of GPs against.

The contract can be viewed here.