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IMO remains "sceptical" about free child GP care and will tell the Government today

The union say the plan is being implemented “by diktat”.

THE IRISH MEDICAL ORGANISATION (IMO) is to meet with Minister of State Alex White today as part of its campaign against the Government’s plans to bring in free GP care for under sixes.

The IMO say they have concerns that the plan hasn’t be given enough consideration and are “sceptical of the feasibility of doing what they have set out to do”.

Minister with Responsibility for Primary Care Alex White will meet the union representatives today along with members from the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP).

The IMO’s chairman of the GP committee explains that they are objecting to the method by which the plan is being introduced.

“Any change to contractual terms and conditions must be fully negotiated as happens in all other sectors, as to do otherwise is to impose contract by diktat,” he says.

Unlike patients suffering from long term illness who are currently being deprived of a medical card, there is no medical evidence underpinning the decision to extend GP visit cards to all children under the age of six irrespective of the means of their families and we will make this point to the Minister.

The ICGP say the the plan represents a “significant change to the existing model of state funded primary care delivery” and has welcomed the opportunity to contribute to today’s discussions.

“We look forward to hearing details of his plan, the research on which it is founded and the international models that he has examined,” added the ICGP’s Darach Ó Ciardha.

The IMO say, however, that the Government “has given insufficient thought and planning to make this change as envisaged” and say that much negotiation on contract issues remain.

Read: IMO accuses Reilly of ‘racing ahead’ with extension of free GP care >

Read: Why have GPs u-turned on support for under-5s scheme? >

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Rónán Duffy

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