Move is a retrograde step for general practice at a time when the profession is in crisis

May 28 2014: The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) is appalled at the terms of the agreement reached between the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) and the Competition Authority regarding the issue of collective negotiations in the High Court today.

In a cynical move that distracts from the settlement, the IMO has agreed to enter into discussions with the Department of Health in relation to the under-sixes, when there is still considerable uncertainty in relation to the overall funding of general practice.

The settlement agreement made available by the Competition Authority (http://www.tca.ie/8421.htm) provides no satisfaction or comfort for general practitioners. Due to the settlement, the Authority secured a number of High Court undertakings from the IMO that greatly limits the ability of the organisation to represent its members effectively.

While the settlement has been welcomed by the Government and the Competition Authority, it will provide no satisfaction for GPs when the ramifications of this agreement are fully absorbed. Furthermore, the settlement is not in the best interest of patients.

“This past year has seen many GPs’ turnover dwindle and quite a number of practices have become insolvent. GPs have been holding out for this case in the hope of being able to engage in meaningful protest without the shackles of competition law,” said Chris Goodey, CEO of the NAGP.

“The IMO has been asleep for ten years,” said Mr Goodey. “The NAGP re-launched itself last July and suddenly the IMO woke up. As a result, the NAGP decided to give the IMO the benefit of the doubt and gave them our full support regarding the High Court Competition Authority case and many other issues affecting general practice.”

“It is time that GPs unite under one umbrella organisation – the NAGP,” Mr Goodey added. “At all times the aim of the NAGP is to ensure better outcomes for patients.”

The NAGP continue to:

  • Insist upon reversal of the FEMPI cuts
  • Insist upon the removal of competition law threat against GPs
  • Insist upon full negotiations between the NAGP and all relevant bodies (with above preconditions)
  • No longer officially support Universal Health Insurance