I thank the Deputy for her question. It raises queries in respect of doctors in general, both GPs and consultants. I will try to take them both. I have outlined a number of the measures in respect of general practice. In the interests of time, I will not elaborate on them, other than to say we reached significant agreement on contractual reform and service development in May this year in return for co-operation with a number of measures. Those measures include some the Deputy pushed for and advocated in respect of chronic disease programmes and a number of reforms concerning multidisciplinary working and e-health medicines. We will increase expenditure on general practice by approximately 40% or €210 million by 2023. We will also bring in more flexible contracts, allow GPs to hold contracts until their 72nd birthday, train more GPs and introduce enhanced supports for rural GPs. More people are now applying to train as GPs.
Regarding consultants, I want to be clear. I believe we are going to need to pay our consultants working in the public health service a lot more money if we want to keep them there. I intend to sit down and engage with the consultant bodies on this, namely, the Irish Medical Organisation, IMO, and the Irish Hospital Consultants Association, IHCA. However, I have no interest, in that process, in worsening the divide between private medicine and public medicine in our public hospitals. I think the Deputy and I agree on this. I agree that the de Buitléir report needs to be implemented in full. Everybody else who has had a conversation about more money or reversals of recessionary measures - GPs, nurses, midwives, SIPTU workers - has had to do that alongside a programme of reform. Consultants are no different in that regard. I want to pay our consultants working in public hospitals more for doing public medicine. I want to look at how we can end the two-tier reality in that regard. I do not want to do anything that would worsen that divide and that would embed further a practice that I genuinely want to end. The Deputy, Sinn Féin and the Labour Party want to end it but I have yet to hear the Fianna Fáil position on it. Every party should come out in this House and say if they want to end the practice of private medicine in public hospitals. As the Taoiseach outlined recently to this House, progress has been made between my Department and the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Taoiseach on an approach to negotiations with our consultants and the implementation of the de Buitléir recommendations. I expect to bring forward concrete proposals to consultant bodies in that regard.