Health committee calls for inclusion of GP group in pay talks

Oireachtas group complains to minister about ‘unacceptable’ exclusion of union

 Minister for Health Simon Harris has been asked by the Oireachtas health committee to ensure both organisations representing GPs participate in negotiations on a new contract for the profession. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Health Simon Harris has been asked by the Oireachtas health committee to ensure both organisations representing GPs participate in negotiations on a new contract for the profession. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Oireachtas health committee has called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to ensure both organisations representing GPs participate in negotiations on a far-reaching new contract for the profession.

The committee has expressed concern that while the Irish Medical Organisation is negotiating with the HSE and the Department of Health, the National Association of GPs (NAGP) will not have “equal status” at the talks.

The NAGP says it has 1,900 members while the IMO says it represents 1,600 GPs.

Committee chairman Dr Michael Harty, himself a GP, says in a letter to Mr Harris that many members find this to be unacceptable.

It is “the strongly held views of the committee that the negotiations should have a definite timeline for completion and that both the IMO and the NAGP should have equal status in the negotiating process”.

“The urgency of completing the negotiations, in a timely manner, and the best outcome of those negotiations would require both the IMO and NAGP to have parity of esteem in all matters.”

The exclusion of the NAGP from direct negotiations was “absolutely bananas” and “nuts”, Labour TD Alan Kelly told a meeting of the committee on Thursday.

The NAGP told the meeting it was seeking clarification from the Department.

In his letter, Dr Harty said the creation of a new, flexible and comprehensive GP contract would be important to the recruitment of additional GPs, in turning allowing for the provision of a modern, effective, efficient and sustainable general practice service.