The Government is committed to engaging with GP representatives on the development of modernised GP contractual arrangements.
Talks between the Department of Health, HSE and the IMO as the established GP representative body are continuing. While some progress has been made, there are a number of outstanding issues that need to be progressed before any agreement can be secured. Discussions are ongoing in an effort to bring matters to a conclusion.
Agreement on the delivery of a range of service improvements and contractual reforms has the potential to facilitate a substantial increase in the resourcing of general practice on a multiannual basis. In line with the long established approach to such processes, and by agreement of the parties concerned, I am not in a position to give further details at this stage.
The Government has implemented a number of measures to improve recruitment and retention in general practice in general practice. These include an increase in GP training places from 120 in 2009 to 202 places available in 2019; changes to the entry provisions to the GMS scheme to accommodate more flexible GMS contracts; the extension of the retirement age for GPs with GMS contracts to 72; and the introduction of an enhanced support package for rural practices.
The Government remains committed to the continued development of GP capacity to ensure that patients across the country continue to have access to GP services and that general practice remains an attractive career option.