I am pleased that we have recently been able to conclude an agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation on a major package of GP contractual reforms which will benefit patients and make general practice a more attractive career option for doctors.
The outcome of the talks process is a comprehensive service development and reform agreement in return for significant phased increases in funding for general practice services provided by GPs to medical card and GP visit card patients. In return for cooperation with a wide range of service developments and reforms, the Government will increase investment in general practice by approximately 40% (or €210 million) over the period 2019-2023.
The agreement includes the introduction of a structured chronic disease management programme, to be rolled out on a phased basis commencing in 2020, which will benefit over 430,000 medical card and GP visit card patients. New fees and subsidies will be available to participating GPs. Several enabling measures will be put in place to support the introduction of the programme, including supports to GP practices to enhance practice nurse capacity. Any required learning material will be made available on the HSE's online learning and development portal (HSE LanD) as is current practice.
It will not be a requirement for practice nurses providing patient care under the direction of GPs participating in the chronic disease management programme to be trained to Advanced Nurse Practitioner level.