Increasing workloads, cuts to State fees and the issue of abortion are set to dominate the annual conference of the National Association of GPs which is under way in Cork.

The two-day meeting of the NAGP, which represents over 2,000 family doctors, will debate 16 motions.

GPs are demanding a reversal of what they claim was a 38% cut in fees for State services under austerity measures.

Many doctors say they are now unable to take on extra patients - either public or private - due to workload pressures and State underfunding.

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The NAGP says there is a manpower crisis, with GPs retiring, emigrating, or planning to leave this area of medicine early.

They also say that a new GP contract being sought by the Government can not be agreed before the reversal of State fee cuts.

Resumed talks on a new contract and separate discussions on a restoration of the FEMPI (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) cuts are due to get under way soon with the Government.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he believes it should be possible to reach agreement with GPs on a new contract within months.

He said the Government is committed to ensuring sustainable GP services into the future.

The Minister of State at the Department of Health Jim Daly told the NAGP meeting that the restoration of pay cuts to family doctors, will be "in return" for GP service improvements, as part of Government plans for a new contract.

Among the other issues on the conference agenda, GPs want clarity on the Government's health reform plans and its response to the all-party SláinteCare report, published last May, which proposes sweeping changes over the next ten years.

A motion for debate calls on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to clarify his plans for an abortion service in the event of the Eighth Amendment being repealed.