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NAGP considers taking legal action on sickness certs

However, the IMO has insisted there has been no breach of contract following the introduction of the new forms.

The IMO is currently in negotiations with the Department regarding a fee for work related to the new closed e-certification system in respect of contractual arrangements and implementation dates.

NAGP CEO Mr Chris Goodey has dismissed the IMO’s position as being “ridiculous” and accused the Organisation of seeking to delay the process to give the Department more time to phase-in changes.

Mr Goodey claimed many GPs had already resigned their contracts with the Department because of attempts to push through new forms and work changes without consultation with GPs.

He said the NAGP was “holding” a further 200 resignation letters from GPs who may yet decide to resign.

The NAGP has raised several concerns about the new forms, including patient confidentiality. However, a spokesperson for the Department said it is “fully satisfied that the new forms, certificates and the eventual e-certification system for illness and injury benefits are GDPR-compliant and protect the personal data of our customers”.

The spokesperson added that “the new system is working very efficiently for GPs using the new forms and their patients — our customers — are being paid their illness and injury benefits without delay”. 

Old forms and certificates are not compatible with the new system and each requires “significant manual inputting into the Department’s payment systems” and have caused processing delays for patients, the spokesperson added.

IMO  GP Committee Chairperson Dr Pádraig McGarry said talks with the Department would be completed by the end of the month.

“Heretofore, GPs were paid for issuing a certificate and it would appear in the future we will be making an assessment. The resources and agreed process around this has yet to be finalised,” he added. 

Meanwhile, a meeting between the Department of Health and NAGP, planned for 12 September but cancelled due to the launch of the Scally scoping inquiry, has yet to be rescheduled.

Mr Goodey said members were “sick and tired of empty, false rhetoric” from the Department on a new GP contract.

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