Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has refused to meet with a group of South Tipperary GPs who have expressed serious concerns for patient safety in relation to the Under 6’s scheme.
The GP have thanked local TDs Mattie McGrath and Michael Lowry for their support but have called on Deputy Tom Hayes to support their call for the Minister Varadkar to meet with them in the interest of patient safety. South Tipperary GPs have said they are extremely disappointed that the Minister for Health has refused to meet with them. In an open letter to the Minister last week, 36 GPs from the South Tipperary region express their concern that the increased demand, reduced consultation time and waiting list which would arise as a result of the scheme make a serious patient safety incident very likely. They called on Minister Varadkar to meet with them to discuss the situation and to engage with them to ensure that the safety of their patients was given priority. However, in a letter received by the South Tipperary GPs this weekend, Minister Varadkar refused the request. The Minister said meeting with them would give others “might create an impression that the under 6 contract can be altered or renegotiated”. “It cannot,” the Minister said. “It’s done.” He said his focus now is on other matters, including extending free GP care to more children. “My focus now is on the successful implementation of the contract and moving on quickly to a new core contract dealing with many other pressing issues including the unwinding of FEMPI, extending the scope of services provided by General Practitioners, extending access without fees to more children, a renewed focus on chronic diseases and addressing concerns about supports for rural practices and those in disadvantaged areas,” he said. Last week, the South Tipperary GPs told the Minister that while they wanted to provide free care to patients under 6, the current scheme as designed fails to safeguard the accessibility, confidentiality and quality of care that their patients deserve.
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