I write to update you on a number of important matters and to ask that as many members as possible would attend our national GP meeting in Croke Park next Saturday please. You can find more information on the Programme here.
At the Croke Park meeting, members will receive an update from our negotiating team on the discussions we have had in a series of meetings with the Department of Social Protection as regards the PRSI dental scheme (DTBS). Updates will also be offered in regard to the medical card scheme (DTSS) and also the results of our survey of members in regard to independent practice.
The Minister for Social Protection, Dr Leo Varadkar, has agreed to attend and address the meeting on the DTBS and specifically the proposed changes he wishes to achieve. I can assure you that the union has remained steadfast in arguing the need for any changes to be economically viable and clinically justified. We have done our best to reflect the mandate we received from the series of regional meetings we organised last September. Next week’s meeting in Croke Park offers you a chance to hear from our negotiating team and the Minister but also to put your questions and comments to both.
A strong turnout by members will show the Minister that we care about the scheme but also that the Minister needs the support of our members if he wishes to have a critical mass of dentists agree to participate in any new scheme. So I would urge all available members to attend – remember there is no charge to attend our GP Group AGM which precedes the practice management seminar. The GP AGM commences at 9.30am sharp so please ensure you arrive in good time.
Finally, I will be stepping down from chairing the GP Committee, as scheduled, at next week’s AGM.
I was honoured to represent you as private dentists and I hope that I have made a contribution on behalf of members during both my terms as GP Group chair and through my involvement in fighting a case against the HSE with the support of our union. I am delighted that my friend and colleague, Dr Tom Rodgers, has agreed to succeed me as GP Committee chair. Tom is a hard working GP and has been actively involved in negotiations in regard to both state schemes. He has a wealth of experience which will prove invaluable in the years ahead.
I will remain as a member of the GP Committee and will continue to offer my full support to the work, much of which is unseen, undertaken on behalf of us all in independent practice.
I feel private dentistry is between a rock and a hard place right now and only those who push towards an independent practice model will benefit in the longer term. I'm disappointed with the way Government seems to be heading and I have battled them in every meeting as have the other reps whom I wish to thank for their time, patience and commitment in the face of opposition both from the state and sadly from some within our own profession.
I wish to thank Fintan and the team in IDA House for the support I've received over the last year and wish you all well going forward.
Thank you all for you thoughts and opinions which I found very helpful and I wish you all the very best of luck and best wishes as we move on together in 2017. Now I feel it is important more than ever to work together and to support each other to ensure we provide quality, profitable dentistry for the benefit of our patients.
Dr James Turner
Chair, GP Group Committee