In a ballot in which around 840 GPs participated, 51.3 per cent of members voted to accept the fee while 48.7 per cent voted ‘No’.
Following the result, correspondence issued to NAGP members noted “we are obliged as a democratic organisation to recommend using the new MED1 certificates”.
“If you voted No, and you as an individual do not consider this offer appropriate for your practice there are options available to you. You have the option of resigning your DEASP contract, and certifying patients on your own practice headed paper. You may charge patients a fee for the service.”
Despite the outcome of the ballot, the NAGP advised it would continue to vigorously pursue payment for all photocopied certificates.
The ballot related to the illness benefit forms only and there is still ongoing GP consultation with regard to the content of all other proposed new DEASP reports.
Meanwhile, the NAGP has called on all GPs to “unite and stand together” at its protest outside Dáil Eireann on Wednesday 6 February.
“The aim of this protest is to highlight to Government that a complete reversal of FEMPI without preconditions is now the only option that will be accepted by general practice,” the NAGP advised members in a recent correspondence.
“Please make arrangements for cover for your practice, close for the afternoon if you consider it appropriate. It has never been more important to show solidarity as it is right now.”
According to NAGP President Dr Maitiu O Tuathail, he expects around 300 GPs to attend the protest.
He said there is a huge amount of anger among GPs at the Government’s refusal to reverse FEMPI and argued there was no reason not to reverse it.