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Currently, the structure of the co-op is being reassessed to ensure greater equalisation of rotas for GPs, it has been confirmed.
GPs at the out-of-hours co-op have been calling for all doctors to share the same conditions amid tension relating to working arrangements.
MI understands that 19 doctors in the Limerick city cell of the co-op are not required to work any out-of-hours shifts as they have different terms and conditions than other members, who are required to work out-of-hours.
The unique arrangement dates back to a deal that was done in 2013 in relation to the extension of the Shannondoc service in Limerick city.
Minutes of Shannondoc’s AGM in September, seen by MI, reveal why the arrangement was made.
“The General Manager assured those present that the decision taken at the time was by the board of Shannondoc and was in main due to the financial penalties that were hanging over the board at that juncture,” the minutes read.
It is believed the reference to financial penalties related to potentially losing HSE grant monies if the service was not extended.
The arrangement allowed doctors not to have to participate in work and saw their work shifts taken up by locums employed by the co-op, it is understood.
At the time, other members expressed grave concern that Limerick GPs were joining under different terms and conditions.
A motion relating to shifts covered by Shannondoc at last year’s AGM resulted in a lengthy debate about the issue and management concluded that “it was the agreed stated position by all present that all doctors should have equal responsibility within the next 12-to-18 months”, according to the minutes.
Shannondoc received €4,509,962 in 2015 and €4,501,461 in 2016 to provide out-of-hours GP services, stated the HSE.
A Shannondoc spokesperson told MI the structure of the co-op is currently being reappraised to ensure greater equalisation of rotas for GPs.
“We are holding a symposium of our members in the spring to review the outcome of the current reappraisal and agree any necessary changes to ensure the co-operative structure is sustainable going forward,” said the spokesperson.