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HSE reissues the Wicklow GP out-of-hours tender

The service provider should have a formal agreement in place with the local GPs

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has reissued a tender for the provision of a structured GP out-of-hours (GP OOH) service for North Wicklow and the part of South Dublin in HSE Community Healthcare East, stressing that it is imperative any tenderers should have a formal agreement in place with family doctors already providing services in the area.

“This formal agreement must include a commitment for the initial duration of any contract awarded. This formal agreement in principle must be obtained from at least 102 GPs who hold a General Medical Services contract within Community Healthcare East,” the HSE emphasised.

The formal agreement of the tenderer with the GPs will be required to include, but not limited to, all aspects of the service, such as arrangements for clinical indemnity, clinical governance, roster management and administration. This follows efforts by the Executive to engage Wicklow GP co-op service stakeholders after an OOH delivery model it was previously championing reportedly “totally disregarded the views of local GPs”.

The GPs had been helping develop the mooted GP cooperative, with a view to running it on behalf of the Executive.

But there had been a sense of frustration among local GPs, following the HSE’s announcement in February of plans to develop a new co-op from St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown, Co Dublin, which was completely different from the service previously agreed.

The new competition is for a fully-managed service covering the call handling services, nurse triage services, GPs, clinical nurses, other support staff (reception staff, drivers etc) and infrastructure required (ICT, vehicles etc), while the HSE will provide the premises for the agreed treatment centres.

They are St Vincent’s University Hospital, St Michael’s Hospital and St Columcille’s Hospital. Community Healthcare East is undertaking a significant programme of investment in primary care centres and facilities for GP OOH services will be incorporated into this infrastructure in the future.

Service providers are requested to only submit a tender, only if they are confident that they have the requisite capacity, suitably qualified staff, experience and expertise within their organisation to deliver on the project covering the approximately 340,000 population of the catchment area (an estimated call volume of 1,972 per week or circa 102,544 per annum), within the proposed timeframe.

The HSE envisages provision of the service commencing as soon as practicable after award of contract but anticipated as being by September 1, but no later than October 1.

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