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The Alliance of Family Doctors (AFD) and the Unite union have come to an agreement regarding GP representation.
The AFD is made up of former members of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP). In May it was announced that the NAGP had entered into voluntary liquidation. However the union part of the NAGP , known as the AFD has continued in existence and has been in talks with Unite in recent months.Dr Andrew Jordan Director of the AFD and ex-chairman of the NAGP told the Medical Independent (MI) that the agreement was a “positive move for the future of general practice”.
He said the members of the AFD would be receiving application forms to join Unite in the coming days.
“What we are proposing is that anyone who is in the AFD, they can apply to be a member of Unite,” Dr Jordan told MI.
“Once 50 people have signed up to Unite, they (Unite) will then set up a branch. and it will be up to the members to then decide what name to use for the branch. Unite will be the overseer and we will go on from there. ”
Dr Jordan said the agreement is “a positive step for general practice because at the present moment there are serious problems in general practice, particularly in rural general practice that need to be fixed… Whatever has been done to date has not sorted it out.”
Dr Jordan added that “with only 3 per cent of the health budget going into general practice, which is at present the lowest in the OECD, we need a seismic shift in funding into general practice.”
Dr Jordan said that the current deal between the IMO and the Government would not “fix general practice”.
“I do think it [the AFD Unite agreement] is a positive move for the future of general practice,” said Dr Jordan. “Every day before the NAGP went into liquidation there was constant media coverage of the plight of general practice. There was a voice arguing for general practice.”
He said he believed that the agreement with Unite would give GPs a strong voice.