IMO says it wants to represent GPs in talks

Doctor's group says it wants to represent GPs in same way as Minister did in the past

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly. The IMO has said that it wants to represent GPs in the same manner as the Minister  did when he held a senior role in the doctors’ trade union several years ago. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly. The IMO has said that it wants to represent GPs in the same manner as the Minister did when he held a senior role in the doctors’ trade union several years ago. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tue, Jul 23, 2013, 16:12

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said that it wants to represent GPs in the same manner as the Minister for Health James Reilly did when he held a senior role in the doctors’ trade union several years ago.

In a statement issued after the High Court hearing today the IMO said it wanted to restate its determination “to exercise its right to fully represent its GP members in negotiations with the Government on services covered by the medical card and other services for public patients”.

It said the current court action involving the Competition Authority “simply clears the path to a full review of the legal situation pertaining to our right - as a trade union - to represent GP members in their discussions with Government in respect of their public work and we are concentrating on defending our position on this matter vigorously and successfully.”

“It is noteworthy that the current Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, was part of an IMO team which previously negotiated with the Department of Health on behalf of GPs in the manner the IMO now wishes to defend.”

“In addition, in 2008 the Government made a commitment to allow the IMO the right to negotiate in this manner. And the first Croke Park agreement made a specific commitment to facilitate the right of the IMO to fully represent GPs in respect of contract negotiations with the HSE/Department of Health. The Government has not yet honoured that commitment.”

The IMO maintained that allowing GPs the right to be fully represented by a trade union in their negotiations with the HSE in respect of their public work was a matter of fairness and logic.

“The Government has ambitious plans for the Health Services and GPs are central to the success of those plans. It beggars belief that the Government should be allowed, or even want to, force individual GPs to co-operate with those plans without any right to full representation.”

“GPs have traditionally enjoyed this right in previous contract negotiations. It will serve all stakeholders well - particularly patients - if that right is maintained in the future.”

GPs providing services under the medical card and other State schemes are not employees of the HSE but rather are independent contractors.