Only 2% of GPs sign under-sixes contract ahead of deadline

One in five plan to sign by May 27th, says National Association for General Practitioners

Only 2 per cent of GPs have signed up to provide free care for children under six ahead of next week’s deadline for the scheme, according to a survey of practitioners.

The survey, commissioned by the National Association for General Practitioners, found just over one in five intend to sign the contract before the May 27th deadline, and less than a quarter plan on signing over the next three months.

Almost 40 per cent said they would not sign before the deadline and 23 per cent said they would not sign up in the long term, according to the survey which was carried out between May 13th and 16th.

The survey of 1,048 GPs, not all of whom were members of the association, was conducted by Gorilla Survey, which specialises in surveys of primary care practitioners.

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It found that just under 30 per cent of respondents remain unsure about signing before next week’s deadline, and 43 per cent are unsure whether they will sign or not before September.

Three quarters of respondents said they felt “coerced and under duress to sign the contract”, according to the association.

"The fact that 75 per cent feel coerced or under duress to sign is a stark reflection of how GPs are being forced into a decision that they are not happy with and is a reflection of how this campaign has been operated by those who support the contract," association chief executive Chris Goodey said. "If the contract was a good deal for GPs and for patients, there should not be any need to coerce GPs into signing it," he said.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times