Health Act 1970

F113 [ Agreement for provision of service under section 58B

58C

58C. (1) The Health Service Executive may, subject to this section, enter, on such terms and conditions as it considers appropriate, into an agreement with a relevant medical practitioner for the provision by him or her of relevant services to eligible persons.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the power of the Health Service Executive under subsection (1), an agreement referred to in that subsection shall

(a) specify the services referred to in subsection (1) that are to be provided by the relevant medical practitioner, and

(b) provide that the payment to be made to the relevant medical practitioner for the provision of those services shall be the payment prescribed in respect of those services by regulations under this section in force at the time the services are provided.

(3) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and in accordance with this section, by regulation prescribe the amount or the rate of payment to be made to relevant medical practitioners in respect of the services provided by them under agreements referred to in subsection (1).

(4) Regulations made under subsection (3) may prescribe different amounts or rates in respect of different services or in respect of the provision of services to different classes of eligible person.

(5) Prior to making regulations under subsection (3), the Minister or, at the Minister s direction, the Health Service Executive, shall engage in such consultations as the Minister considers appropriate.

(6) Consultations under subsection (5) shall be completed no later than 60 days after the Minister gives notice of the commencement of the consultations.

(7) Regulations made under subsection (3) shall prescribe amounts or rates that the Minister considers to be fair and reasonable having regard to the matters the Minister considers appropriate, including either or both of the following:

(a) any submissions made and views expressed during the consultations under subsection (5) ;

(b) the nature of the services concerned and the general nature of expenses and commitments of the relevant medical practitioners providing those services.

(8) (a) The Minister may define the manner in which consultations under subsection (5) are to be conducted and, in doing so, shall have regard to any agreement entered into between the Minister and representatives of relevant medical practitioners relating to the conduct of consultations under that subsection.

(b) The Minister or, as the case may be, the Health Service Executive shall conduct consultations under subsection (5) in the manner defined under paragraph (a) and with such representatives of relevant medical practitioners or otherwise as the Minister or, as the case may be, the Health Service Executive considers appropriate, and nothing in the Competition Act 2002 shall prevent participation by the Minister, the Health Service Executive or any such representative in such consultations, or the communication and discussion of the outcome of such consultations by the representatives with the relevant medical practitioners they represent.

(9) Without prejudice to any other provision in such an agreement relating to its termination, an agreement referred to in subsection (1) shall provide that, where an amount or rate of payment prescribed by a regulation under subsection (3) is varied by a subsequent regulation made under that subsection, the relevant medical practitioner concerned may terminate the agreement by giving the Health Service Executive 3 months notice of the termination.

(10) An agreement referred to in subsection (1) shall apply between its parties notwithstanding any other contract, arrangement, understanding, expectation, circular or instrument or other document that exists at the time the contract is entered into.

(11) (a) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Health Service Executive may, during the period that begins on the date on which this section comes into operation and ends six months after that date, enter into an agreement referred to in that subsection with a registered medical practitioner who is not a relevant medical practitioner, where that registered medical practitioner, at the time the agreement is entered into, is party to an agreement with the Health Service Executive to provide one or more services which may be provided, under the General Medical Services Scheme, to a person entitled under section 58 to have those services made available to him or her.

(b) A reference in this section (other than in paragraph (a) ) to a relevant medical practitioner shall be deemed to include a reference to a registered medical practitioner who has, in accordance with paragraph (a), entered into an agreement referred to in subsection (1).

(12) In this section

eligible persons means persons who are entitled under section 58B (inserted by section 5 of the Health (General Practitioner Service) Act 2014) to have relevant services made available to them;

General Medical Services Scheme has the meaning it has under section 1 of the Health (Provision of General Practitioner Services) Act 2012 ;

registered medical practitioner has the same meaning as it has in section 2 of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 ;

relevant medical practitioner , subject to subsection (11), means a registered medical practitioner

(a) whose name is included in the Specialist Division of the register of medical practitioners established under section 43(2) (b) of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 , and

(b) who holds a current certificate of registration within the meaning of section 2 of that Act in respect of the medical speciality General Practice recognised under section 89(1) of that Act;

relevant services means the services that constitute the general practitioner medical and surgical service referred to in section 58B(1). ]

F114 [ (13) Notwithstanding any other part of this section, the agreement, referred to in subsection (1) shall not:

(a) include any provision to restrict the criticism of the Health Service Executive, or the Department of Health;

(b) impose an obligation upon any general practitioner to limit criticism of the Health Service Executive, or the Department of Health;

(c) require any general practitioner to notify the Health Service Executive, or the Department of Health in advance of making a public statement;

(d) require any general practitioner to receive prior approval from the Health Service Executive, or the Department of Health, for any public statement they wish to make;

(e) require any general practitioner to dilute their natural rights to freedom of expression implicit in article 40.3.1º;, of Bunreacht na h É ireann and explicit in article 10.1 in the European Convention on Human Rights. ]

Annotations

Amendments:

F113

Inserted (1.07.2015) by Health (General Practitioner Service) Act 2014 (28/2014), s. 5, S.I. No. 267 of 2015.

F114

Inserted (1.07.2015) by Health (General Practitioner Service) Act 2014 (28/2014), s. 6, S.I. No. 267 of 2015.

Editorial Notes:

E220

Power pursuant to subss. (3), (4) exercised (1.07.2015) by Health Act 1970 (Section 58C) (Payments to Relevant Medical Practitioners) Regulations 2015 (S.I. No. 284 of 2015), in effect as per reg. 1(2).