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Uncertainty over conduct of GP contract talks

However, the IMO has yet to confirm whether it is willing to sit down together with the NAGP during contract talks with Department of Health and HSE officials.

The invitations were issued by the HSE and the Department in late December and detail an intention to recommence negotiations early this month.

Speaking last week to the Medical Independent (MI), Dr Pádraig McGarry, IMO GP Committee Chair, said it was now in the IMO’s hands to set a date to start talks.

Dr McGarry outlined his view that the contract would be put in place on a phased basis. He stressed the need for allocation of resources if any new contract was to be successful.

In a recent correspondence to IMO members, Dr McGarry confirmed that the negotiations would be held under the 2014 Framework Agreement between the IMO, Department of Health and HSE.

In tandem with negotiations and in the context of new talks on public sector pay, “we will be seeking a detailed process for dealing with FEMPI”, he wrote.

Mr McGarry did not comment on whether the IMO would enter talks with the NAGP present.

The NAGP has a number of issues it wants urgently addressed during contract negotiations, according to CEO Mr Chris Goodey.

“Out-of-hours and the current contract are currently not fit-for-purpose. A number of things need to happen as a matter of urgency including the partial restoration of FEMPI,” he told MI.

“The separation of the out-of-hours contract from the daytime contract is another issue. Out-of-hours needs GP governance and control.”

Last year MI revealed that the NAGP had written to the IMO seeking to meet before the recommencement of formal contract talks in an effort to find common ground.

As of last week there had been no formal response from the IMO, said Mr Goodey.

He said it would be “detrimental and fundamentally damaging for general practice if the two organisations don’t engage”.

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