Statement by Minister Varadkar on the NAGP protest

“I fully acknowledge that GPs are under pressure, both financially and in terms of workload. The same problems are facing everyone in the health service. Nevertheless, more GPs are taking up contracts with the HSE.  Latest figures show there were 2,416 GPs contracted to the HSE in April 2014 compared to 2,258 at the end of 2010.

“Similarly, payments to GPs under the GMS contract have risen to €447 million in 2013, compared to €438 million in 2011.

“The Government wants to increase resources to Primary Care as part of the transition to Universal Health. I strongly encourage GPs to seize the opportunity presented by the new contract negotiations and the proposal to extend GP care without fees to the under sixes and over 70s as the best way to get more resources into General Practice. It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be lost.”