Health Minister pledges health service doctors 'will want to work in'

Simon Harris addressed delegates at the IMO conference in Kerry yesterday

Health Minister pledges health service doctors 'will want to work in'

Simon Harris. Photo: Sam Boal/

The Health Minister has pledged that new GP contract negotiations will begin 'in the coming weeks'.

Simon Harris last night told Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) delegates meeting in Killarney that he's ready to start work to deliver the kind of Irish health service that doctors will want to work in.

Minister Harris took the podium at the Europe hotel saying there was a lot to talk about and a lot to do.

He said previous decisions to reduce bed capacity were 'crazy', adding that he knew what was needed - citing capacity, recruitment and retention, investment, the new GP contract and implementing Sláintecare reform proposals among the priorities.

He said potentially 'significant additional investment' will be available for a new GP contract, and pledged that negotiations would begin within one month.

He observed: "I know you want more than my acknowledgment. You want action and I can assure you so do I."  

Finishing up his speech, Minister Harris told delegates: "I came here this evening to ask for your help and to offer you my support, to acknowledge the very difficult years you have been through and to outline how I believe we can work together to reach higher terrain.  

"I believe we have the potential to be an effective combination of professional and political leadership to realise a once in a generation opportunity for our health service."

He added: "Together we can build a better health service. We know what we need to do. Let’s get on and do it."

The IMO's incoming president, Beaumont Hospital's Dr Peader Gilligan, replied to the Minister's address - saying now was the time to stop analysing and start delivering the health service that the country requires.

Reporting by Teena Gates and Stephen McNeice