The Irish College of General Practitioners has said it is withdrawing from the HSE clinical care programmes due to the latest round of fee cuts for family doctors announced by the Government.

The ICGP, the professional body for GPs, has informed Minister for Health James Reilly that it is to withdraw its GP clinical leaders from the programmes with immediate effect.

The scheme was set up by the HSE to streamline the management of many medical conditions, including mental health, diabetes and asthma.

One of the aims of the programme is to develop more effective shared care of patients between hospitals and GPs, particularly for chronic conditions.

The working groups for these programmes include GPs.

ICGP Chairperson Dr Mary Sheehan said: "The ICGP can no longer tolerate a situation where it is expected to participate in programmes that seek to transfer workload to GPs while at the same time the Government is undermining GPs and stripping them of their resources with three rounds of cuts.

"A properly resourced and supported Primary Care sector will save money and produce better health outcomes.

"Given the massive health budget over-runs, the ICGP is alarmed that the Government and the minister appear to be overlooking the opinions of health economics experts by refusing to support GPs."