National Association of General Practitioners will only meet with Minister Alex White to discuss under 6’s contract provided there are no preconditions to talks.

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) has welcomed the offer by Minister Alex White to meet with general practitioners to discuss the imposition of the under 6’s contract.

However, it is the unanimous view of our membership (and our National Council) that discussions with the Minister are pointless unless the provision of service is coupled with the issue of resourcing.

“It is not possible for our members to continue providing the level of care that patients expect and deserve without a firm commitment from government that money will follow the patient. To date the money has been running away from the patient – down a deep black hole,” NAGP CEO Chris Goodey said at a recent meeting of General Practitioners.

The past five years have seen drastic cuts under the FEMPI (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) to general practice and the contract for the under 6’s would only have increased the workload on GPs who are already, in many cases, overwhelmed.

We now face a situation where many GPs are emigrating, services are deteriorating, equipment is not being replaced, staff are being let go, and the infrastructure of general practice is being so starved of resources it may be irreparably damaged.

This would be tragic as general practice is the one area of the health service that has been performing well and meeting public expectation.

“We welcome this move by the Minister to finally talk to the people who deliver the service before imposing contracts on them. We hope now he will go all the way and invite us to an inclusive process that will allow us to discuss the future of general practice and be a part of its development,” said Mr Goodey.

Mr Goodey added that the NAGP were committed to working out a solution with the Minister, but the issue of under-resourcing and the lack of the ‘money follows the patient’ meant that GPs were dealing with an increasing workload without any extra resources.

“We just want the government to follow their own policy – we are happy that work is transferred to general practice – It makes perfect sense,” said Mr Goodey – “it is more effective, convenient for patients and cheaper, but we can’t take on this huge extra workload without resources, planning and staff.”

Chris Goodey is available for interview at (087) 132 9714