Tuesday, 18 February 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
100. Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for Health if he has sought information on the number of GPs who have signed letters indicating their intention to withdraw from the GMS scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Connell): In 1989 new contracts were entered into by the health boards and individual doctors for the provision of services for medical card holders, following an agreement between the Department of Health and the Irish Medical Organisation on the arrangements and the terms for the provision of such services. The new contracts provided, inter alia, for the termination of an individual contract on the giving of three months notice by the contract holder and for the termination of the general agreement, on which the contracts were based, on the giving of 12 months notice by either the Department of Health or the Irish Medical Organisation.
On the 1 March 1991, the Irish Medical Organisation formally lodged a claim with my Department for an increase of 40 per cent in the level of all fees and other payments made to general practitioners under the present contract. This claim has been processed in accordance with agreed procedures and the findings of an arbitration board on the claim is expected shortly. While I am aware of statements in the media in regard to the GMS. I have not, nor do I intend, to respond to these. The Irish Medical Organisation are the approved negotiating body on behalf of doctors in the scheme and I would intend that any discussion in relation to the conditions of their members would have regard to the normal industrial relations procedures.
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