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White: I invited the IMO to talk about GP concerns - that hasn't happened

The IMO said it is studying the minister’s response to its concerns but criticised him for his refusal to negotiate fees with them.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

MINISTER OF STATE Alex White yesterday appealed to the Irish Medical Organisation to accept his invitation to meet him and discuss concerns GPs have about the draft contract for free care for under-sixes.

During a press conference about Universal Health Insurance yesterday, White said he has written twice to the IMP in the last few weeks inviting them to meet him. “That hasn’t happened yet, he told reporters. “I’m hopeful that will occur – they have certain concerns in respect of the draft contract, there’s no doubt about that, and they’ve told me what those concerns are.”

I can address them, I suppose, without meeting them, but it would make much more sense if we met in order to address them and I’m on my third invitation to them at the moment to come and meet me and I reiterated here now.

White stressed that this contract was “just a first stab” and insisted that all options are on the table. “We just have to get to a table,” he added.

The IMO has also been previously critical of the minister for failing to respond to correspondence requesting meaningful negotiations on the issue. A spokesperson for the union told TheJournal.ie that they have now received a reply from Minister White and are “studying it”.

However they pointed out that the Minister has ruled out negotiating fees for GP care in the draft contract and is “therefore he is only offering very qualified meetings rather than substantial negotiations”. White has previously said that these fees were a matter for the Minister for Health.

“The Minister knows that the IMO negotiated the current contract on behalf of GPs,” they said. “It is ridiculous therefore for him to rule out the IMO performing a similar role in any re-negotiation of that contract.”

Read: IMO could threaten legal action over contract on free GP care>

Read: Reilly: Everyone will have free GP care by 2016, IMO: There’s no hope of that>

Read: Minister can’t rule out “fiver or tenner” charge for ‘free’ GP care>

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