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The poll, launched on the site by GP Dr Conor McGrane on 30 August, asked members “Are you a member of the IMO, NAGP, both or neither?”
Some 614 GPs voted in the poll, which ran for over a week. The results showed 195 (31 per cent) were neither members of the IMO nor the NAGP.
Some 111 (18 per cent) were members of the IMO while 255 (41 per cent) said they were members of the NAGP. Some 53 GPs (almost 9 per cent) said they were members of both the IMO and NAGP.
Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Dr McGrane, who is a former IMO member, said all GPBuddy forum members are GPs living or working in Ireland.
“Voting was restricted to one per member and the result could not be viewed until you voted. 614 is a decent poll and is about 10 per cent of all GPs in Ireland, so there’s definitely a degree of validity,” Dr McGrane said.
Dr McGrane said he was “surprised” by the difference in membership between the IMO and NAGP, as he expected them to be “pretty much equal”. He said he was also struck by the numbers who are not a member of either organisation.
Surmising on the many possible reasons for the large difference in IMO and NAGP membership revealed by the poll, Dr McGrane said many NAGP members are very active online and on social media platforms while in contrast IMO members are perhaps less active.
A number of GPs are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress made to date in securing the reversal of FEMPI and delivering on a new GP contract.
In the face of growing financial pressure on GPs many are re-evaluating all costs, including union membership.
“With so much pressure financially on GPs (like with all of us in general) it comes down to union membership or maybe a family holiday,” Dr McGrane said.
Full annual membership of the IMO for GPs and consultants is €1,242.
Full annual membership of the NAGP is €775 while locum GPs and part-time GPs are charged €450 per annum. All GP trainees are offered free membership.