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March 29, 2015

AGP wants to negotiate contract

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By Lloyd Mudiwa.

The Association of General Practitioners (AGP) would like to play its part in negotiations on the new GP (GMS) contract if and when talks take place, IMT has been informed.

The aspiration was expressed at a meeting between AGP officials, led by new Chair Dr Clodagh Maguire, and GPs from Dublin North East, Wexford, Waterford, and Kilkenny held in Kells a fortnight ago.

The AGP wants to see three parties, including the HSE management and IMO, negotiating for a new GP contract, similar to talks for consultant contracts. One of the attendees, Dr Ruairi Hanley, a columnist with IMT, last week said the Association now represented a genuine alternative representative body for GPs. Dr Hanley, added: “It does have a trade union licence, but not a negotiating licence.”

Dr Maguire, who told IMT some GPs from North Kildare were the latest to express an interest in joining the Association, said issues raised at the Kells meeting included medical card applications, GMS entry, study leave and training. A meeting in five weeks’ time would evaluate progress made and determine the future course, she said.

Dr Hanley added that GMS entry, from which he felt young GPs had been unfairly restricted for 40 years, was an important issue for this cohort, and he was happy the AGP was clear that entry should be open.

He said another issue raised was the “criminalisation” of doctors through public Fitness to Practise inquiries, which he claimed was not improving standards but only leaving doctors living in fear.

“For doctors who have to go through it, it’s horrendous; the level of complaints arising and their vexatious nature are appalling. I am sure that is not what the Medical Council had intended,” he commented.