Dublin 13.6.2014: The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) has received assurances from a number of opposition parties and independent TDs that they will support the organisation’s aim to amend current competition law, which expressly forbids any kind of collective bargaining between GPs and the State.

Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Health, has indicated that his party will fully commit to amending current competition legislation with regard to collective bargaining, should his party form a Government after the next election.

Deputy Kelleher made the commitment following his party colleague’s attempts to amend the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill 2014. Despite the initial rejection of Deputy Dara Calleary’s amendments, it is expected the Mayo TD will propose further amendments in the coming week.

According to Chris Goodey, CEO of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), the Fianna Fail deputys’ actions reflect the growing realisation among politicians that in order for general practice to thrive GPs must have an input into how services are run.

“Amending our broken competition legislation has been a long-term objective of the NAGP and something the NAGP has been engaging directly with all politicians across the country over the past twelve months.

“We are pleased that Deputy Kelleher, and his party, has acknowledged the severity of the situation and expressed a desire to exempt general practice from the ridiculous constraints of competition law, and follow the model currently exercised in other forward-thinking European countries.”

Commenting on his party’s commitment to amend the competition legislation, Deputy Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Health said:

“Over the course of the past year or so I’ve been overwhelmed by the escalating crisis in general practice. I witnessed first-hand, in my own constituency and at recent NAGP meetings in Cork and Dublin, the devastating impact that recent FEMPI cuts have made – on the profession and on patients.”

“Fianna Fail recognises the vital role that general practice plays in our health service and is committed to creating an environment where GPs can effectively negotiate on behalf of their members for the betterment of the profession and, ultimately, patient welfare.”

For further information please contact Andrew Shaw of First Medical Communications on 0877525445 or ashaw@firstmedical.ie