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The Association has previously asked that 1,000 GPs donate €1,000 each to the fund. NAGP CEO Mr Chris Goodey said he believed more GPs would donate to the fund if there was an imminent threat of legal action from the CCPC. He said that he had read media reports that the “Authority [CCPC] are watching us [in relation to plans to set up a network of GP co-operatives], but they are watching everybody”.
Mr Goodey updated delegates about the GP co-operatives plan, the details of which were exclusively revealed by the Medical Independent last month (https://www.medicalindependent.ie/78245/new_gp_co_op_movement).
Unlike existing GP out-of-hours co-ops, these co-operatives will be based on the traditional co-operative business model, similar to that used in the Irish farming community.
Mr Goodey told the AGM that the Association had received legal advice confirming that it would be perfectly legal for GPs to set up a larger undertaking as a co-operative, so that benefits of scale could be attained to make the business more efficient. He confirmed that the first co-operative is being set up in Tipperary, with plans for seven to eight co-operatives to be set up around the country.
The fighting fund and the Association’s options on conducting its business free from legal threat were debated at length during the AGM’s motions session. A motion put forward by Dr David Rabinowicz proposing that the NAGP examine the potential to challenge the CCPC as a matter of urgency was defeated.
One GP criticised the “extortionate costs of legal actions and the fees paid to the legal profession”. The GP said he had not donated to the fund as he did not like the legal profession but would donate €2,000 if he could send the money “directly to the NAGP, not to a solicitor’s office”. A female GP meanwhile urged attending GPs to donate to the fund.